Walking along a street I overheard the following dialogue.
Two young men shared their observations at a café excitedly:
“Did you notice that dude in the corner? No smart phone, no laptop, not even a cell, no earphones… He was just drinking coffee! Must be insane!”
Still, for teachers who have had no contact with visual impairment, some of these tips or pieces of information may be useful. This article focuses on students with little or no sight as I have most experience in this area.
It calls for prowess along with ‘sense sensitive training’. In this post I would like to share my experience of teaching a bright and ambitious visually impaired teenage girl, in the mainstream classroom.
I vividly remember the first day when I was in for a surprise. I marched into my classroom armed with usual handouts and power points oblivious of my class profile. At the door stood a woman who apprised me of her daughter’s small amount of residual sight not enough to read and study.
More than 400 EL teachers from the region gathered together to listen to Mike Riley, teacher, teacher trainer and methodologist who spoke mostly about EL resources and the challenges of today. Mike started his career in Manchester, then spent fifteen years in Milan, Italy, progressing from EL teaching at all levels and ages to manager, director of International House, and is now a Macmillan specialist. His main report was titled “More than Words”. He demonstrated three types of resources, images, videos and graphs, and gave three major reasons for their usage:
I have been experimenting with using mobile devices in my university communication classes over the last couple of years. I have had some success and in other cases it hasn’t worked as well. These days, all of my learners have smartphones and they use them a lot. I have teacher friends who have tried banning their use in class but with not a great deal of success. I guess they are part and parcel of a student’s life and I wanted to find ways to best utilize them in class. As I mentioned, I tried various ways of using them and here are three activities that worked well with my learners.
Well, that is not entirely true because sometimes I used text books as a loose guide to help and shape my own short and long term plans, ideas and activities.
Now I am a teacher trainer, but previously to that, I taught subjects such as English, Art and Science (preschool and primary stages) in bilingual schools. My last few years in a classroom also focused on preparation for English external exams, which my students were expected to take at the end of each year.
The younger our students are, the more enthusiasm they show for any new task.
I usually define the grades very clearly. In primary school I use the following: Excellent, Good, Again. Sure, I know perfectly well that “Again” means failure, but the pupils do not realize that and happily accept it as a challenge. Add the fact that EL is a subject which stands aside from all the others, and the unorthodox system of grades is perceived as normal. Once we eliminate the fear of failure and/or a bad mark, we acquire a new stimulus for the students to strive and move towards a better one.
Writing a Discourse
Sir Francis Bacon said 'reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man'. Writing is the most difficult language skill. A child starts acquiring the four language skills listening, speaking, reading and writing in order. This is true of all the languages including English.
Giving Learners Feedback On Their Writing
I was working as a teacher of English for seventeen years in different High Schools in the Basque Country and I think I must start by saying that most teachers I met during those years agreed that they found their writing feedback highly time-consuming and not really effective because students would make the same mistakes once and again.
Special Needs Students.
Nina MK, Ph.D.