Talking with an EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher


Over a cup of tea and moon cakes we talked to a fabulous EAL teacher who works in NSW schools. It is exciting to work with someone who is passionate about their work and about supporting teachers to up-skill their understanding of cultural perspectives. We are thrilled that Justine, is sharing her expertise and extensive experience as an EAL teacher with TRIO. The Chinese Mid Autumn festival is coming up on 19th September. She has prepared a lesson sequence to explore one aspect of this celebration, the giving and eating of moon cakes. See our resources  page for a free download of lessons to celebrate this event which is the second biggest event on the Chinese calendar. Incorporating a cultural perspective into lessons is easier than you think!

Let’s get to know Justine…

What is your role at school?

I support the needs of LBOTE (Language Background Other  Than English) students, families and their support networks. I work collaboratively with office staff, executive and teachers to support the academic and social needs of each student. It is important to identify and recognise each cultural group within a school and value their cultural similarities and differences. The collection of data is an essential part of the role as it informs school and region and impacts on the types of programs implemented. I plan and team teach with classroom teachers, as well as organising individual programs for first phase students.

What do you like best about  your work?

I love educating staff, students and community about nuances of cultural groups. I particularly enjoy recognising  and celebrating the cultural backgrounds of people because it is part of who we are and helps us to understand each other. Celebrating different cultures facilitates communication  and  is great fun.

If you could tell teachers one important message what would it be?

Don’t make assumptions about students.

What are you reading?

I am reading Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit which provides a fascinating insight into daily life during and after the Saddam regime.

What is your favourite cuisine?

Definitely middle eastern food because I love the spices and the texture. I find it fascinating to discover regional differences in dishes. In saying this, I love to try anything!