Spotlight on visual aids

29th September 1995 at 01:00
Peony Hutchinson is a Section 11 teacher working for South-west Hertfordshire Language and Curriculum Support Centre. A native speaker of three Chinese languages, she has for several years been giving bilingual support during national curriculum tests to a small number of Chinese children.

"There is a need for more visual aids. I've found that while a lot of children are capable of doing the maths and science tests at key stage 1, the language that the instructions are written in is difficult," she says. Ms Hutchinson suggests that where there is no language support in the exams, it would be particularly helpful for bilingual children if there was an illustration of what is required of them, for example in sorting shapes, rather than looking at words they don't understand.

"Tests require preparation and foresight on the part of language support teachers. Class teachers will have an idea of what is required to help children after the first lot of tests and will make a point of giving special attention to certain areas," she explains.

"For instance, last spring I helped a Chinese boy doing his Year 6 science tests. Before the exam, we applied for extra time for him and I was also allowed to help him with his writing of certain words. I was able to explain what the questions were asking of him, even though I wasn't allowed to explain concepts such as 'condensation' or 'evaporation'. Being able to tackle the papers with everyone else gives a real lift to bilingual children."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today