Diversity in linguistic is common in today’s society with a growing interest in the linguistic landscape. The language landscape provides the visibility and the salience of a variety of languages on the public and the commercial signs in a particular region and territory. It is a concept that is applied in sociolinguistics on the study of how various languages are used visually in multilingual communities like Australia (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2014). The paper will consider the issues that are raised regarding language and literacy teaching and learning for the EAL/D children.
Therefore, Australia being a multilingual community, there are a number of factors that contribute to the complexity of the language landscape. These factors are immigration, globalization, and tourism. The immigrants from different communities come to Australia with their dialects adding to the original language of the nation. The official language in Australia is English and it’s spoken across the nation. However, the complexity of the language based on its origin affects its structures among the other nations. Therefore, the people coming from other parts of the world come to Australia with their English language structure influencing the other parties within their set-up. Basically, it has been noticed that the language that is being taught in the institutions is perhaps different from the one being spoken outside the school and in the society in general (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2014). These make language especially English to have a complex structure based on the influence it brings to the people especially the students. Therefore, immigration, globalization and tourism have brought in people to Australia having a different dialect adding to the complexity of English language.
English as an additional language/ Dialect (EAL/D) are those whose first language is perhaps a language or a dialect other than English and require support to help them develop proficiency in English language. The main challenge of the EAL/D children is that their first language or dialect is perhaps not Australia English or dialect hence making it difficult for them to learn and catch up with the mainstream classroom classes. Moreover, there exist some links between the cultural or linguistics varieties and are potentially disadvantaged at schools. The EAL/D children have an extension of cultural diversity that might affect their relationship with other children and teachers. Therefore, this becomes a challenge for the children to corporate and learn based on language barrier and cultural or linguistics among the class (Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2014). Additionally, the EAL/D children find it challenging in the new environment based on the second language learning process and culture. The children find the environment different thus affecting their studies and learning outcome.
The EAL/D children are just like other students and the teachers should learn and understand them for effective teaching outcomes. The main issue affecting EAL/D children is the first language which they obtained from other nation. Therefore, I think the teachers need the following key things to enable them to teach effectively. They need to consider that students with EAL/D have diverse educational backgrounds. First, the EAL/D children may have a schooling that is equivalent to their same-age peers in the Australian schools. Second, the children may lack a previous or a limited education that might be a barrier to understanding some concepts in the latter framework of their learning criteria. Third, the children may have a good academic language skill but normally struggle with the common social registers of the English. Therefore, the good skills are an indication that they can still do well in the mainstream class as another student. Fourth, the children may have learned the English language as a foreign language and had exposure to some written English but only require developing their oral English skills. Fifth, the EAL/D children may have already learned single or multiple languages or perhaps dialects apart from English. Therefore, all these factors provide both positive and negative of having an EAL/D children as a teacher in a class. It is imperative to understand the above factors for effective teaching.
M. de Courcy in Hyde, M., Carpenter, L., & Conway, R. (2014). Diversity, inclusion and engagement (2nd Ed.). Chapter 3 – Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, pp. 41- 65.