August 24, 2023

Easing Language Barriers in School

Jess O’Dwyer, general manager for Europe at Pocketalk, explains how tech can transform the educational experience for those with English with an additional language.

It is currently estimated that 20% of students across the country speak English as an additional language (EAL). In some urban areas, such as London, there are more than 300 different languages spoken in schools.

The learning experience for those with EAL has a great impact for a number of reasons.  Save the Children research has shown that for children learning in their native language represents one of the biggest gateways to achieving quality education and the opportunity of a better life.

But it’s not just the learning experience, moving to a new country, new community and house can be daunting for any child, let alone if they are unable to communicate effectively. Making friends is just as important to help ease feelings of isolation and loneliness.

This presents a real need for resources and support for EAL pupils and their families.

Currently, schools have a few options. There are in person translators who can support pupils in the classroom, however, this is a very costly solution, meaning budgets don’t often stretch to cover  the whole school day.

Language lines offer another translation solution, however it can be hard to access a phone in the classroom as well as the difficulties with an environment providing noise. Children may also find the experience confusing.

In some cases there may be a staff member who is able to translate, but with the number of languages being spoken across schools, this will not help everyone.

That’s one of the reasons Pocketalk was created. GDPR compliant Pocketalk empowers anyone to make accurate, secure, real time translations across 84+ languages.

As it’s a stand alone device, children are able to safely and easily use it on their own, both with teaching staff and also with their classmates.

Pocketalk’s goal is to remove communication barriers and create an environment where learning is not solely bound by language comprehension. With Pocketalk, true authentic dialogue and learning can take place, liberating students and empowering teachers and parents.