About the webinar
In recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we invited two expert teacher educators to discuss and explore ideas on being an inclusive teacher, based on their work and research with teachers around the world. There were two short presentations relating to different teaching contexts and an opportunity to ask questions:
TESOL for the visually impaired in disadvantaged contexts – Ana María Elisa Díaz de la Garza
This presentation explores the importance of developing positive attitudes towards teaching students with special educational needs. A great number of teachers are not qualified to meet the needs of students with disabilities due to the lack of adequate resources and appropriate teacher training. This requires attitudinal, institutional and structural change in order to improve the quality of life and well-being of all members of society. I discuss what teachers can do to make the classroom a more welcoming environment for visually impaired and blind learners.
Successful inclusive education as practised by teachers in Asia – Els Heijnen-Maathuis
In this presentation, I give a short introduction about the background to a multi-country case study and its rights-based approach to inclusive education. A key message is that all children are unique, and that all have individual learning support needs, some more than others. I then focus on children with disabilities and how these children are as different from each other as any other group of children, raising the question of whether labels, such as ‘special needs’ or ‘slow learner’, are useful when searching for the best teaching approach. I then illustrate and discuss inclusive strategies (including some that did not work) tried out by the teachers related to learning barriers, inclusive pedagogy, teacher needs, and classroom action research. The webinar concludes with a short reflection.
Find out more about research and practice in inclusion in our publication: Creating an inclusive school environment
About the speakers
Ana works at the Tuxtla Language Faculty of the Autonomous University of Chiapas, Mexico. She holds a MEd degree in ELT Trainer Development from the University of Exeter and a PhD in Modern Languages from the University of Southampton. Ana has developed research projects and written academic articles.
Els holds a postgraduate degree in education (University Queensland). For 30 years she worked as an education and child rights specialist in different countries in East Africa, South and South-East Asia. She has written extensively about inclusive education, teacher development, child rights and action research in the classroom. She currently lives and works in Sri Lanka.
- Universal Design for Learning to help all Children Read: Promoting Literacy for Learners with Disabilities (USAID)
- Focusing on Success: Teaching students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Grades 1 to 12
- Primary teachers toolbox for including children with social communication difficulties
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