Photographs by Linda Hartley
Displays make a tremendous difference to children learning English as an additional language. They are a key source of support when working on a learning task and can offer crucial opportunities for reinforcing recent learning. Ideally your displays should be empowering pupils and supporting their growing independence.
Where classroom displays often go wrong is that the writing is too small for children to access from a distance (or even when standing quite near); the displays are left up too long meaning that they become like wallpaper with the children not taking much notice of them; they are static and uninteresting and finally they are not used to reinforce a positive message about inclusivity and diversity. So, with the problems out the way lets look at how displays can be effective supporters of learning.
TOOLS FOR LEARNING Good wall displays should support the process of learning. Pupils should refer to the display to support them in aquiring new conceptual knowledge, carrying out learning tasks or consolidating prior learning. Consider the height and position for easy access for pupils.
INTERACTIVE Displays where children can engage, respond and contribute hold their attention and are therefore more effectively reinforce the key points. Static presentations run the risk of blending into the background and becoming invisible, whereas interactive displays draw in children's attention. Making these displays can be fun and there are limitless ways of creating interaction - involve the children in thinking of innovative ideas.
PROMOTERS OF INCLUSION To ensure that your wall displays are inclusive consider the following points:
SUPPORTIVE OF PRIOR LEARNING Wall displays can be effective in reinforcing concepts and skills from prior lessons. For these types of displays consider making them interactive so that children actively engage in the revision through answering questions, matching items, creating sentences/phrases, or adding ideas, solving problems etc. This will make the learning memorable and fun and lead to more 'stickiness' in terms of long term recall.
Working walls support current learning
Working walls support learning of concepts, skills and vocabulary
are effective in displaying key aspects of the current or recent lesson, for example;
Working walls are dynamic and ever-changing to reflect work in progress.
They may show a process such as 'our brainstorm' or 'our story draft'
or 'our reworking or finished product'. They are designed to remind
pupils of recent concepts and skills covered, allowing them to
consolidate key points. Pupils may even add to some displays with ideas
or vocabulary on sticky notes.
These examples of literacy working walls show a range of features such as clear targets or learnging intentions, key features of genre, key vocabulary and sentence structures used. They are also visually stimulating and some provide opportunities for pupil participation.
Working walls should display work in progress or evolving rather than neat finished products. The working wall should provide useful tools to support chidlren in their own writing. This numeracy working wall shows key componenets such as step by step guides, learning intention, demonstration sheets, key vocabulary and visual support.
This numeracy working wall shows key componenets such as step by step guides, learning intention, demonstration sheets, key vocabulary and visual support.
Interactive displays engage pupils
Interactive displays are an excellent way to enable pupils to consolidate key points by actively taking part in the display. Interactive displays could include;
Displays of completed work inspire and encourage pride in achievements
Displays of completed work can also provide opportunities for consolidatiion. Including the following elements can maximise their usefulness;
Evaluate your displays to maximise effectiveness
Carrying out a self-evaluation of your displays can be a useful way of finding out what aspects are included and what aspects pupils find useful. Points to consider:
Pupil questionnaires can elicit valuable feedback which can be used to enhance your wall displays. Points to consider for questions for the children to answer: