The EAL Academy


KS4 Ukrainian pupil – a translanguaging case study

I really want to share this brilliant assignment, about a multilingual Ukrainian pupil translanguaging in the classroom, from a teacher who recently finished our course Learning in multilingual classrooms.

Mihal, Y10, arrived in the UK from Ukraine in October 2022. Mihal’s first language is Ukrainian. Mihal and his family also speak and understand Russian but stated that they prefer to use Ukrainian when interpreters are required, this may be for political reasons.

When in Ukraine Mihal was educated through the medium of Ukrainian; however, he is also literate in Russian. English was also part of the curriculum in Ukraine. When Mihal joined our school, he did so alongside several other Ukrainian pupils, and uses Ukrainian with them. Mihal is developing competence in English.

I have been observing Mihal and a group of his peers use their language repertoire while I have been supporting their access to the curriculum and developing their proficiency in English. My particular focus with Mihal has been to plan for and observe him completing tasks that have incorporated structured translanguaging – ‘trawsieithu’.

In school, Mihal moves between using English and Ukrainian. Unsurprisingly, he uses Ukrainian with his Ukrainian friends but switches to English with his teachers and other classmates. His English is slightly more developed than some of his Ukrainian friends so he will often seek clarification about instructions or points of learning from his teachers for his friends. Mihal also learns Welsh as part of the school curriculum.

Mihal is encouraged to use Ukrainian to access curriculum content. Spontaneous translanguaging is promoted so that Mihal formulates his ideas and drafts work in Ukrainian then uses his responses to craft answers in English. Mihal’s teachers are also advised to use translation tools to translate documents into Ukrainian so that he can refer to these alongside the English information. Mihal and his peers confirm that this is helpful.

In one of his English literature lessons linked to ‘Macbeth,’ the lesson had structured translanguaging opportunities for Mihal and his peers to use both English and Ukrainian. Mihal and his friends were given the opportunity to discuss and seek clarification about aspects of the play. An English and Ukrainian summary of the play, with visuals was given to the group. Model answers in English were also provided. They discussed the content amongst themselves in Ukrainian but sought clarification, translated key words they wanted to use from Ukrainian to English, and they wrote their responses in English.

Mihal and his peers are becoming more confident in using both languages in their studies.

Written by a recent graduate of our online course Learning in multilingual classrooms about their translanguaging Ukrainian pupil.

Learning in multilingual classrooms

Online course

This course looks at the choices we make about which language to use and the ability of many pupils to operate effectively in two or more languages.

EAL online course

Extended online EAL course

New cohorts launched every term

Requiring approximately 90 hours to complete over a six month period, our extended EAL online course provides the opportunity to examine a range of EAL issues in detail, studying at times that suit your schedule. With 4 core units and 2 electives, you can tailor the cross-phase course to suit your interests and the needs of your school.

The EAL Quality Mark is based on a school’s self-evaluation of its EAL provision. It is an award made to schools on their achievements in meeting the needs of pupils learning English as an additional language. 

It is available as a bronze, silver or gold award, allowing schools the opportunity to re-visit the award and build on their practice over time. Any school with pupils on roll who are learning English as an additional language is eligible to apply.