In brief

30th July 2004 at 01:00
Practical Ways to Support New Arrivals in the Classroom By Frank Monaghan National Centre for Language and Literacy pound;4.95. NCLL, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading RG1 1HY; www.ncll.org.uk

What's it like being a non English-speaking new arrival in a UK school, pitched into an unfamiliar culture that's sometimes hostile? At least we can make the classroom warm and welcoming. In fact, it's our duty to do just that, even though, as Frank Monaghan puts it: "To the new arrival, the gentle stream of the teacher's speech may at first appear more like a turbulent ocean of noise, occasionally interrupted by islands of tranquillity inhabited by a few castaway words and phrases they understand."

This short book (26 pages) doesn't have all the answers, and it isn't a complete course. It is, though, a good start - cheap enough for every staff member to have one, and short enough for them to have no excuses for not reading it. And, importantly, it finds space to remind us, yet again, of our history as a haven for refugees and to challenge the destructive media myths which deny that heritage.

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