As students across the UK return to school and University it is important to remember that not all are native English speakers, indeed, over 300 languages are now spoken in schools across the UK. Demonstrating that as the UK becomes ever more diverse pupils of all ages are entering the education system with a potential need for language services and support.
While there are many examples of multilingual communities and support outside of the classroom, the same cannot always be said for inside the classroom. Of course, it is important to support non-English speaking students with their English as well as support their first language.
Many younger students are at risk of losing their first language, especially in highly monolingual areas in which immigration is low. Being bilingual has proven to have many benefits not only in terms of future opportunities but also can help improve memory and concentration, hence why it is important to support bilingual students of all ages.
Through the support of language services, such as translating course materials into a student’s native language can help them improve their English by seeing both versions but also can help build their confidence. When students are able to understand and access the same resources and materials as their peers, they are able to learn and fulfil their potential alongside their classmates. This helps to reduce feelings of failure and isolation, which is a concern for non-English speaking students, especially if their family have limited English, they may only be able to practice and learn English while at school.
Furthermore, by having translated materials and language support available to teachers means that teacher-student relationships are stronger. Language support can help remove the stress and frustration for teachers who may not be able to speak other languages/the same one as their students. Also, allows the students to build trust and have the reassurance that their educators are there for them and fully able to support their education.
Tracking progress also becomes easier as students language skills are supported. Language services support communications with families, for example having an interpreter present during parents evenings. Also, fully managed language solutions mean that a non-English speaking student’s support and progress can be tracked and shared through multiple teachers and subjects. Further ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks and students can fulfil their potential regardless of their language.
Overall it is always important to consider the language needs of students the same way we do with adults across services and facilities. There is a tendency within schools to prioritise English at which points non-English speaking students risk falling behind as well as potentially losing their first language which is equally devastating. The benefits to both students and teachers is clear, by having language solutions in place teachers are able to teach and students are able to learn unhindered by language barriers.
If you are interested in any of our Languages services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! DA Languages has over 18 years of experience working withing the education sector and supporting schools with cost-effective and intuitive solutions to suit schools of any size and budget.