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Top 5 tips for successfully motivating EAL learners

Teacher speaking about motivating EAL learners

Often, EAL learners have the feeling that they have to start their education again, from scratch. They need to learn how to speak, how to write and how to read in a new language and they often can’t communicate as well with the other children as they used to. Teachers often wonder how they could be motivating EAL learners.

Motivated EAL learners using FlashAcademy

We asked some primary and secondary teachers what their top 5 tips are for successfully engaging and motivating EAL learners. Here is what they told us:


Use pictures

Every pupil understands pictures, no matter what their home language is. Using pictures and visual aids can motivate EAL learners since it helps them understand a text they are reading or an audio they are listening to.


Differentiate by questioning

Teachers can ask their EAL pupils true or false questions to keep them engaged in their learning and check what they have understood. The questions shouldn’t surpass the EAL learners’ ability, so that they aren’t discouraged.


Provide cultural relevance

it is extremely important to make the content you are teaching to EAL learners culturally relevant to them. Content should include some of the EAL learners’ home cultures as well as British culture and values. EAL learners should be able to compare their home culture with British customs to establish their parallels and differences.


Encourage games and competition

There is no better way of keeping EAL children motivated than to make them learn through games and spark their competitive nature. Teachers explained to us that the FlashAcademy app, with its fun games and live leaderboard, successfully manages to engage their EAL pupils.


Give rewards

Children love seeing their hard work being recognised. Therefore, teachers should acknowledge EAL learners’ efforts and give them small rewards such as a sticker for participating in class discussion. If they are using the FlashAcademy app, children are congratulated regularly during their lessons and can even receive a certificate, depending on their leaderboard ranking.


It is essential to create a positive environment for EAL learners and to continuously promote success to keep them motivated and engaged in their work. Teachers should try their best to facilitate their experience of learning a new language, and adapting to a new environment, by implementing some easy methods which will keep the children interested.

Register Here: 

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

If you have any more ideas, please drop us a note on Twitter at @FlashAcademy_HQ!

Interested in all things EAL? Check out our top 5 tips for dealing with challenging behaviour in EAL learners! Are you looking for free EAL resources for your school? Why not visit our resources page?

Annika Rahf

Annika is our Marketing Assistant and loves languages. She speaks French, German, English... and a little bit of Spanish and enjoys watching Netflix shows in their original languages! You can contact Annika and the rest of the Marketing team on Twitter @FlashAcademy_HQ.