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Top 5 Tips To Make EAL Pupils Progress in Their Writing

Writing in English can be a challenging task to ask a pupil who is learning English as their second language. Often, EAL pupils feel like they don’t have enough vocabulary and don’t know the grammar rules well enough to write a decent essay. However, there are ways to help EAL pupils progress in their writing and to make it a fun activity for them.

We asked some primary and secondary teachers what their tips are to help EAL pupils progress in their writing. Here are their top 5 tips:

Meaningful purpose

Rather than just asking your pupils to write an essay on a subject, why not ask them to write a letter to their mum for Mother’s Day? Or to write something to hang on the wall? This kind of task motivates children to do well, because they want to impress their parents or their peers!

Make it fun and build confidence

Pupils enjoy being given very little instruction, so that they can use their imagination more. Giving them a lot of time allows them to look up words in the dictionary or to ask their teachers for help. Everything’s more fun when using colours and stickers! Allow your students to reveal their crafting skills by combining a writing activity to a crafting one.

Value their experiences and interests

Asking pupils to write about their weekend or about their favourite sport can motivate them to look for new vocabulary. This way they will be motivated to write a lot and build meaningful vocabulary along the way.


An excellent way to help pupils improve their writing skills is to teach them writing tips, before they start. This means teaching them about sentence starters, key vocabulary, grammatical structures etc… This way, no pupil will be completely lost, and you’ll always be able to redirect them to the basics you taught them.

Making good use of continued assessment

It is much more helpful to evaluate pupils’ progress throughout the course, rather than just at one exam. This way, pupils feel less pressured and are more likely to improve their writing skills.

The best way to help EAL pupils progress in their writing is to make the experience relaxed and fun for them. Let them use their imagination and their creativity and let them write about topics which interest them! It’s also a good idea to teach them some writing tips before they start, to keep them from getting overwhelmed.

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We’d like to thank the teachers who attended our EAL Birmingham 2018 conference for sharing their tips with us. Click here to register for the EAL Success Roadshow 2019 for more ideas and strategies to unlock the EAL challenge at your school.

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