Strand 2

Slides 1
Strand 1
20th August 2021
Slides 3
Strand 3
24th August 2021
Slides 1
Strand 1
20th August 2021
Slides 3
Strand 3
24th August 2021

Learning outcomes


  • Know about the admissions process
  • Know about the symptoms of culture shock


  • Be able to identify the major factors hindering a student’s learning
  • Be able to integrate home language learning into the classroom


  • Develop your own language profile


Strand Overview

2a. Do enhanced admissions procedures include questions on proficiency/exposure in other languages, development of their mother tongue, reasons for transition, periods without school, life prior to arrival and cultural expectations of school life?
2b. Is there a procedure for communicating appropriate admissions information to teachers and other staff?
2c. Is a welcome procedure in place, e.g. teaching the child how to ask for things, pointing out where things are, telling the child what they will be learning, noting how the child and parents can assist (and how the teachers can continue to communicate with parents, etc)?
2d. Are buddies trained, e.g. in how to offer support and how and when to translate?
2e. Are parents included in family learning or are there parent transition activities on arrival to support their own transition? Is a home-visit an option?


  • Cut out the resources ‘Session 1 – ranking game – cultural readjustment scale (cut-outs)’ from the Across Cultures Framework Portal. Cut out one set for each group of 4-5.
  • Prepare the videos on the Across Cultures Framework Portal.
  • The school language profile is titled ‘Language Profile Template’ on the Across Cultures Framework Portal.
  • ‘Parent Information Card’ on the Across Cultures Framework Portal.


Slide 2 – Strategies to help new arrivals

Consider strategies to help new arrivals embrace their new cultural experience. Share quotes and note that:

Culture makes up who we are and a change in culture is stressful.


Slide 3 – Psychological adaptation over time

Consider what might be challenging in the new environment. Explain that:

“Social contact between culturally disparate individuals is difficult and often stressful.” Ward, Bochner & Furnham, 2001.

Refer to the graph:

You can see the amount of adaptation over time and how it changes.


Slide 4 – Cultural readjustment scale

Spradley & Phillips developed a ranked scale which included social situations to consider when entering a new culture.

Ask the participants:

Can you give some ideas of the changes in familiarity that may result in cultural shock? (seek 2-3 examples, e.g. food, clothes, language).

A photocopiable page of the examples provided by Spradley & Phillips can be found in the Across Cultures Framework Portal, titled Session 1, Ranking Game. Cut up the statements; ask the participants to work in groups to rank them according to how likely they might be to provoke stress.

Participants should note down their top five in their shared doc (Strand 2, Activity 2.1).

(Time guide: 10 minutes)

Answers are in order in the Across Cultures Framework Portal (Share the top 10 on the next slide. This is also listed in the resource file, pages 12-13).


Slides 5-7 – Cultural readjustment scale

No notes.


Slide 8 – A new arrival from China

Watch the video and ask your participants to consider:

What were the needs of this new arrival?


Slide 9 – A new arrival from Poland

Watch the video and ask your participants to consider:

What were the needs of this new arrival?

The theme is:

  • Friendship and feeling safe
  • Communication

It is important to provide each new arrival with the basic language to communicate so they can make friends easily and transition quickly into their new environment. It also provides a foundation for later access to the more technical vocabulary and language structures required to access the curriculum. 

Beginner English (otherwise known as Survival Language) support is necessary.


Slide 10 – Symptoms of culture shock

Share the slide:

We have already established some of the symptoms of a change in familiarity. Here are some more:

  • changes in eating habits and sleeping habits
  • acute homesickness; calling home much more often than usual
  • being hostile/complaining all the time about the host country/culture
  • irritability, sadness, depression
  • frequent frustration; being easily angered
  • self doubts; sense of failure
  • recurrent illness
  • withdrawing from friends or other people and/or activities


Slide 11 – Easing culture shock

Give 5-10 minutes for participants to look at the statements. 

Who provides this kind of support at school?

Participants should group their ideas into answers to the following questions:

  1. What do they do personally to help ease culture shock?
  2. What more could they do?
  3. What does the school do already to help ease culture shock?
  4. What more could the school do?

Refer to the shared document (Activity 2.2). Refer to the importance of buddies and mentors. This is covered in more detail later in the session.

(Time guide: 5 minutes)


Slide 12 – Easing culture shock 2

Continuation from the previous slide.


Slide 13 – What resources and events do these people need? 

Once you have established some ideas about a transition programme, consider all the stakeholders involved in this process: 

New Staff 



Split the group into three (or perhaps just work on students if you are a small group) and mind-map some ideas for resources and events you currently have in place. Consider what else you could do to support these stakeholders further. 

Activity 2.3


Slide 14 – Local Vs. International Admissions 

Robin Berting (2010) broke down the various international school communities into four quadrants, as something to be mindful of when recruiting students and determining how a particular school relates to the different areas. These are as follows:

Q1 Colloquial & Local

  • Unilingual (local language) and little international experience 
  • Choose international school for language and job prospects, social status and stability, both parents may work, trusting in reputation and administration if graduation leads to good universities. Difficulty interacting with internationals, especially from Q4 

Q2 Colloquial & International 

  • International Families
  • Unilingual (often English), first international posting (includes multiple movers who do not engage with local culture). 
  • Choose international school (with professional move) to replicate continuity, therefore worried about detail of education, want them to learn local language while maintaining English, spouse (often mother) often not working – in PTA. Can’t communicate with local community, except for Q3

Q3 Cosmopolitan & Local 

  • Local Families 
  • Multilingual (local language, English & other) with extensive international experience 
  • Choose international schools for same reason as Q1, but have better understanding of the types of education children have and value. Usually both spouses work. 
  • Bridge-builders because can relate to others (Q1-Q4). 

Q4 Cosmopolitan & International 

  • International Families
  • Multilingual (English and other), have adapted locally with one or more international experiences. 
  • Choose international school for the same reasons as Q3 and value international education, but like Q2 have high expectations of education (through less ’insecure’), often one spouse not working (as with Q2) and involved in community (incl. PTA). 

Robin Berting, ISJ, 2010 


Slide 15 – Admissions responsibilities 

Often these steps are taken by the admissions team when a new arrival makes an enquiry into joining the school. There may be an added layer if your school offers an assessment. Share this with participants within your school so they are aware of it. Explain that often the information required may be held with the admissions team, key stage leader, or class teacher.


Slide 16 – EAL Lead responsibilities

The objective at the admissions stage may simply be to ascertain the applicant’s level of English and determine whether they meet the admissions criteria for the school’s EAL programme for that year or age group. This process will also provide useful information about the applicant’s home language. At this stage, it may not be necessary to know placement of the student; this can be determined once they start at the school. 

Ideally, the EAL Coordinator will not be required to do this work, but could prove helpful if they are available (many schools enroll students during holidays when EAL teachers are not to hand). 

In designing an admissions process, schools must consider local laws, and might also wish to take into account what other schools are doing. The process needs to be seen as fair. Schools with fluid last-minute international arrivals may wish to consider an admissions process through which sufficient information is gathered to admit a student, but where precise details are only ascertained by the EAL Coordinator once the student has joined the school. 

Admissions language profiles and writing samples should be considered an official part of the admissions process. Most schools ask parents to sign a declaration that all information provided is true and accurate, on the understanding that if it is not, an offer may be withdrawn. Schools that must enroll EAL students ‘sight unseen’ might consider offering a provisional place pending arrival, with an opportunity for the school to verify, during the admissions process, that the student is as presented on paper (this can be stated in the Admissions Policy, in the interests of transparency).

Slide 17 – Setting the scene for parents


Parents arriving at a school with international new arrivals are often undergoing a similar transition to their child. In a possibly unknown culture, operating in an unknown language, and sometimes with little or no members of a community who speak the same language around them, parents need support too. These families have a significantly larger transition to make. The challenge of including these parents, as with their children, can be hindered by language barriers and notably, a cultural background which may have very different expectations of how a school works with parents.

Review ‘More information – Family learning’ in the Portal and consider the feasibility of running something like this in your own school context.

A note about family learning: this family learning framework is designed to:

  • build rapport between the parent and the school (breaking down language and cultural barriers)
  • build capacity for the parent to support their child
  • welcome parents into the community
  • encourage parental engagement in the school community.

The family learning framework in the Portal is intended to be covered during two back-to-back sessions, run over one afternoon a week. This first session is teaching English to parents in schools; the second part consists of family learning follow-up lessons.

The framework could be wholly focused on English for parents in schools. The family learning follow-up is not a requirement.


Slide 18 – Thoughts, feelings and preoccupations of parents in transition

When parents relocate internationally, or even nationally, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a highly stressful time for them. As educators, it’s our role to be aware of such issues. Some of these may also be relevant to parents, who are changing their child’s school even at a local level. As teachers, when we are communicating with parents, it’s a good idea to be aware of some of these worries and concerns, as ultimately they will affect the learner in our care. 

Share with participants some of the thoughts, feelings and preoccupations listed below. Can they think of any others? Are they able to relate to some of these if they too have relocated?

  • Anxious
  • Excited
  • Preparing for a new job
  • Sense of adventure
  • Concerns they can’t speak the language
  • Stressed
  • Concerns over where they will live
  • Managing their child’s expectations of moving


Slide 19 – Language profile sample 

Sample Language Profile: you could adapt this slide to show your own language profile. 


Slide 20 – Developing a transition programme 

Discuss with your participants whether there is currently a transition programme in place. Consider the strengths of the programme and how it could be improved. Here is a list with some suggestions to start discussions:

Consider investing in a funded transition programme
Consider the school population, size, location, host country language and culture
Involve parent ambassadors – how can they support?
Audit your current transitions – what are you doing well, and what would be even better?


Slide 21 – Parent information card

Share the ‘Parent Information Card’ on p20. This can be given out to parents at the second admissions meeting. It gives everyone clarity as to the requirements of their role.

Highlight the following to the participants: Refer to p14-16 and cover elements of the parent, buddy and mentor roles:

The parent

Parents play an important role in maintaining stability at home, continuing to speak in the home language, encouraging friendships and being available. It’s important to note that parents and their family may be going through their own cultural adjustments and may also need support from the school. Parent buddies can help, as can family learning (in which the child and parent learn together at school, with other parents and their children).

The buddy

  • The responsibility for being a buddy must be shared between several people: it’s a huge job. You may like to consider certain buddies being available at different times of the day or in different lessons. Two main buddies are recommended in order to keep main responsibilities clear.
  • The buddy must be available at the right times and be included in initial meetings with the newcomer.
  • The buddy should be a peer who speaks the child’s language, if possible. If not, then a child who is not a speaker of their language will be fine.
  • Make sure you review the buddy system regularly to ensure it is effective. The newcomer may wish to select a buddy.
  • Make sure you inform the parents of the main buddies, so they are aware their child is supporting another.
  • Remember that the newcomer will not always need a buddy.

The mentor

The chosen mentor should be someone in the school who is relatively easily accessible to the newcomer. In the first instance, the mentor should spend daily time with the newcomer (this will be reduced later). Ideally, they should be the same person who teaches their English small-group sessions.

The mentor should provide the buddies with a short session on dealing with the new arrival:

  • ask the buddy or buddies to think about what the new arrival might need
  • talk them through their role
  • provide them with some advice
  • let them know where to find you if they feel the newcomer isn’t happy.


Slide 22 – Survival language helpers for the learner

These picture cards are support for the child in the first few days (p25-29). They are available as coloured key rings from

They can be:

  • given out in the welcome pack
  • used as a teaching tool for the first few days
  • used as a communication tool.

The pictures/statements can be presented to the new arrival by a parent, buddy, mentor or teacher before entering their English-speaking environment. This presentation should be interactive, fun and designed to help the child identify what the pictures and statements mean, usually through translation into their own language, as well as when and how they can use these statements. At this stage, the focus is on being able to use the statements when needed, as opposed to learning all the phrases.


Slide 23 – Survival language helpers for the teacher

These picture cards support the teacher’s communication with the child in the first few days (p31-32).

  • They can be used by the teacher to communicate with young learners. 
  • They can be used as a teaching tool for the first few days.

These survival language classroom instruction picture cards are available from

These picture cards are designed to help teachers give clear instructions to newly arrived children with little or no English. Teachers: simply place them in a place you usually stand or sit to give classroom instructions. Point to the picture as you say the instruction. For most effective use, either the teacher, a mentor, parent or peer can pre-teach these classroom instructions using the poster, focusing on the meaning of the visuals rather than remembering each statement. When you use the picture cards in class, these instructions will then be reinforced and understood quickly and easily.


Slide 24 – Regular mentor meetings

Step 3

Meeting 3 onwards: Regular meetings
Purpose: to maintain a consistent and stable connection for the new arrival to continue settling in.
Present: child and mentor (class teacher, parent or buddy as and when appropriate)

The following meetings do not need to be translated unless absolutely necessary.

  • Aim to meet at least twice a week in the beginning, then once a week until the child is ready to continue without your support.
  • You may want to bring the buddy, parent or class teacher into the meeting occasionally, in order to support the newcomer.


Complete the Regular Meetings form using the template (see Resource File, p33).

Effective one-to-one sessions should include:

  • some time for the child to reflect on and evaluate their current feelings (if the child seems sad, it would be worth involving the parent or a buddy who speaks their language)
  • some revision of previous learning to check understanding and help the child’s self-assessment progress
  • looking at how the child can use their new learning in other contexts
  • a celebration of what the child has achieved
  • identification of the next learning goals
  • the next meeting date and whether it will include the buddy.

(adapted from Bullock and Wikeley, 2004)


Slide 25 – Remember Book

These Remember Books are available from They are designed to support beginners to English in the first few weeks. It is an essential book by helping children learn survival language.

Explain how the Remember Book works.

The Remember Book has two functions:

  1. To provide a record of what pupils have learned at the end of every lesson in order to support revision of English outside the class.
  2. To record independent learning in order to provide opportunities for understanding new learning in lessons and then revising the new language outside the class.

The teacher will write the new learning for the lesson or ask the child to stick or write it in the front of their book during the lesson.

Children must take their Remember Book and a pencil with them everywhere and be encouraged to write words or sentences in the back of the book as soon as they learn useful language. If children are literate in a home language, then they should be encouraged to write the translation. If not, they can draw a visual to remind them or just write the word on its own. It doesn’t matter about spelling at this stage – it’s the speaking, listening and remembering that is important. The attention to detail in the spelling can come later. Children use the back of the book to avoid making it messy and mixing up their useful, independently learnt words with the lesson work positioned at the front of the book.

Information for parents on how we use the Remember Book can be found on p24.


Slide 26 – Other elements to consider

Refer to Language for the first few days (p34-39).

The content of these sessions should be covered in the first 3 days along with the survival language helpers on p25-29.

Familiarise yourself with one of the sessions and teach one session in English or, ideally, in another language.

(Time guide: 5 minutes)

It is also important to consider the following ideas:

Read stories about children transitioning to other cultures. These can help learners to understand their feelings or start discussions about their experience.

Additionally, workbooks that focus on transitioning may be helpful.

Some examples can be found in the Resources section p373-384 and in the Reading section of Strand 2 on the Portal.


Slide 27 – Case study

Read the case study together and ask participants to answer the questions. Encourage them to suggest ideas and/or familiarise themselves with ‘Strategies to help new arrivals embrace their new cultural experience’, see Further Learning on the EAL Framework Portal.

(Time guide: 5 minutes)


Slide 28 – Reflection and Action Points

Allow participants 5 minutes’ reflection time to add to their Reflection and Action Points notes.

Tasks for participants:

  • Are there practical tasks found in this session you can ask participants to try out themselves?
  • Can they then feedback on these tasks in a follow-up session or at a later date?
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