Language in Learning Across the Curriculum (LILAC) is a programme widely used in Australia, training non-specialist teachers to teach a functional approach to linguistics and grammar.
The aim is to change teachers’ classroom practice in a way that improves the academic English skills of pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL), and possibly other struggling students. LILAC is an accredited, intensive course involving face-to-face training and ongoing support for Y5 and Y6 teachers.
The theory underpinning LILAC is “systemic functional linguistics”. This holds that explicit language teaching helps pupils’ language acquisition by giving them an understanding of linguistic structure, enabling them to make appropriate linguistic decisions.
This is well-established as a theory, but there is little experimental evidence of its impact on pupil outcomes. We are working to strengthen the evidence base through this evaluation.
The project is similar to a pilot delivered by Enfield Council with funding from the GLA’s London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF). Data from this work suggest that pupils targeted with additional support from LILAC-trained teachers made more progress on writing outcomes than a school-selected control group. This school-level randomised controlled trial, led by Sheffield Hallam University, will make a significant contribution to knowledge in this important area.