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Resources to support multilingual environments

Useful list of resources for both teachers and speech and language therapists working with multilingual children.
© University of Reading

You looked at the research base for the key elements of successful multilingual environments in Step 3.8. Here, we list resources and associations that practitioners may find helpful in supporting their multilingual classrooms and settings.

Professional Organisations

The National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) is an organisation dedicated to supporting both research and practice for multilingual learners in the UK.

Practitioners in Scotland can also join the Scottish Association for Teachers of English as an Additional Language (SATEAL).

Mother Tongues Ireland is a social enterprise promoting multilingualism among both families and practitioners.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists has a series of webpages on bilingualism: Bilingualism – clinical information for SLTs and an online e-learning course for members ‘Working with Bilingual Children’ – an introduction to bilingualism and ways of assessing bilingual children.


The research and practice discussed in Step 3.8 points to the importance of using learners’ current language strengths as starting points. Rather than starting with what learners do not know in English, targeted assessment can unlock what they do know in their heritage languages and what they do know in English. We acknowledge that assessment in heritage languages can be challenging because it requires multilingual practitioners and these are not always available or resourced locally.

A widely used framework for assessing English use in multilingual learners is The Bell Foundation EAL assessment framework.

Practitioners may also find that their local authorities have teams that can support either English or heritage assessment. Examples of these are:

Hampshire Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service.

Solihull EAL Service.

Speech and Language Therapists can access detailed guidance on bilingualism, including assessment, provided by the Royal College of speech and Language Therapists.

Resources for working with multilingual learners

The Bell Foundation offer a range of practitioner-friendly, free-to-download materials such as those on their Great Ideas Page.

The EAL MESHGuide brings together research and practice for multilingual learners.

If there’s a possibility of Developmental Language Disorder, teachers should be alert to a) parental concern, b) family history, and c) slow progress in acquiring English despite classroom instruction. This I CAN guide is a useful resource.

Teachers and SLTs may find it useful to ask caregivers – or even children themselves if they are old enough – about their multilingual background. Collecting systematic and detailed information of where, how, and how much children hear and use their languages is important to build an accurate picture of their linguistic background. Using a questionnaire like Q-BEx is an efficient and reliable way to collect such data. The questionnaire is available in several languages in addition to English, it can be completed by caregivers or by the children from the age of 14 – ideally with some guidance. Completion of the questionnaire generates an automatic report on various measure of quantity and diversity of language exposure and use for up to three different languages.

Your suggestions

We would like to hear about the resources you recommend. Please share any you think other learners may find useful in the Comments area. We recognise that many of the ones listed above are UK focused and would welcome some ideas for resources relevant worldwide.

© University of Reading
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Understanding Multilingual Children's Language Development

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