Κυριακή, 20 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Teaching English to children with learning disabilities




On January 13th 2013, at the premises of the Experimental Primary School of Serres, Ms Elena Xidopoulou, invited by TEUM, made a presentation entitled “Teaching English to children with learning disabilities”. In the framework of inclusive education, teachers are asked to cater for the needs of all students and promote learning in any possible way. 
 
In an immediate and experiential way the presenter introduced the key terms and definitions relevant to the following conditions:



Through questions and answers she established rapport with the attendees. She discussed briefly these syndromes, their causes and effects. She offered a checklist to be used by the English teachers in order to identify some of these difficulties. Photocopied material was distributed to the teachers attending the seminar (kindly sponsored by ΦΡΟΝΤΙΣΤΗΡΙΑ ΚΟΡΥΦΗ).

Some useful pieces of advice:


  • ·         The teacher sets the rules in the classroom
  • ·         Cooperate with parents and first language teachers
  • ·         Sensitize the rest of the children to “the other”
  • ·         Seating arrangements in the classroom are really important
  • ·         Time management is essential too
  • ·         Talk to children maintaining eye contact
  • ·         Customize your teaching - Choose what you teach (eg. can they learn idioms?, can they write a imaginary story?)
  • ·         Individualize and differentiate learning
  • ·         Teachers should create a study check chart to assist children with their learning
  • ·         Don’t assign them distracting tasks (eg. bring sth outside the classroom)
  • ·         Practice phonology rules in multiple ways (Phonological Awareness is really important)
  • ·         Distinguish letters from phonemes
  • ·         Use a variety of materials (colouring pages, play dough, collages..) to address multiple intelligences and learning styles (visual-auditory-kineasthetic)


Our Goals as teachers of students with learning disorders is to strengthen students’ 


  • ·         Memory (eg mindmapping, rhymes, matching)
  • ·         Attention span
  • ·         Focus
  • ·         Speed of response to stimuli
  • ·         Spatial reasoning
  • ·         Serial reasoning
  • ·         Problem solving

The teacher should act as an…


o   Organizer
o   Guide
o   Motivator
o   Monitor
o   Needs Analyst
o   Material Producer

Don’t forget!!   


o   Be patient

o   Set the example

o   Encourage

o   Respect

o   Empower

o   Provide internal motivation

o   Identify and Set realistic goals

o   Organise

o   Boost self-esteem

o   Develop continually

o   Study-upgrade knowledge and skills

o   Try out new ideas



* Ms Xidopoulou holds 10-hour seminars in Athens and Thessaloniki for those interested in an in- depth analysis of the topic.

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