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Improving pupils' language development

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.

About this project

Explore the people, research centres and partner organisations behind this project.

Get in touch

Contact us to discuss facilities, partnerships, doctoral research and more

Email us

Research team

Martin Culliney

Dr Martin Culliney

Research fellow

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Mike Coldwell 29093

Mike Coldwell

Professor of Education

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Nick Moore 28411

Dr Nick Moore

Senior Lecturer In EAP

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Sean Demack

Senior lecturer

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