Difficulties in comprehension and acquiring content canarise from a lack of provision of culturally relevant information, posing apotential problematic areafor students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D)students (Richards,& Burns, 2012). A strategy to enhance learningoutcomes for the student involves creating an inclusive environment sensitiveto all cultural backgrounds (Dashwood, 2017) where the EAL/D learner activelybuilds schema through receptive knowledge. By both listening and doing, thelearner is more likely to develop understanding and familiarity within thecurriculum content. When a student does not possess the ‘schema’ forunderstanding spoken and written text on a topic, it a teacher’s responsibilityto ‘build up the schema’ in order for the EAL/D learner to identify where theyhave not previously encountered the context (Dashwood, 2017).Content familiarity can be garnered by settingup a game of ‘questions’ or a ‘riddle’to introduce a topic.
This is an exciting, all-encompassing method to evokequick English thought, action, providing an opportunity for speaking,communication and listening through an open question format. This is an effectiveactivity to eliminate reduce any anxiety that can ascend from learning anew language in an enjoyable and authentic manner whilst developing their level of proficiency inEnglish, particularly in introducing and developingbackground information for a specific topic.Knowledge is founded upon one’s perception of the world of whatis already known and familiar. Students are able to develop comprehensibleinterpretation of a text through uniting textual information (new knowledge)with their existing information (prior knowledge) (Navarro, 2008). A practical way to maximisecomprehension in the classroom can be achieved through content familiarity, forexample; reading texts relevant to students and encouraging them to predictwhat they think will happen.
Visual cues and illustrated word banks assiststudents with sentence structure, which in turn, allows the teacher and students to have explicit discussions aboutthe topic, focusing on associated vocabulary and ideas represented in the information(Hertzberg, 2012).