Online event: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in English Language Teaching

Watch recordings of all the sessions from our mini-event exploring different aspects of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in English language teaching.

About the event

The UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is observed every year on 3 December to:

"promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities." United Nations

To support IDPD this year, British Council TeachingEnglish hosted a one-day event to support teachers of English with learners who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Click or tap to watch the recordings from this event

Sessions recorded on 2 December 2022

About the webinars

Marie Delaney: Creating the inclusive classroom - practical first steps

Inclusion is a hot topic at the moment in many countries. Many teachers feel worried about trying to include students with additional educational needs in their classrooms. This has become even more challenging with the return to school after the COVID pandemic and the pressure to ‘catch up’.  In this talk I will look at some of the myths around inclusion and give teachers some ways of identifying students who have additional needs. I will then offer some practical ways the English classroom can provide opportunities to work on inclusion and tips to create a safe, inclusive classroom where all students can achieve to the best of their ability. 

Download Marie's handout 'Games and activities to promote inclusion'

Katy Asbury: Inclusive teaching principles and strategies

In early 2022, LearnJam carried out research for the British Council into how to best support teaching provision of special educational needs (SEN) in remote ELT settings in the Americas. In this session we will share the findings from our research, and how that has led to the 7-module toolkit that we have recently developed for the British Council. We will share content from the toolkit and describe how you can use principles and strategies from the modules to create a more inclusive teaching and learning environment in your classroom.

Download the 7-module toolkit for inclusive teaching practices in remote teaching contexts

Sarah Smith: Supporting students who have ADHD

An educator who understands ADHD can make a meaningful and long-lasting difference to many children’s lives. So, what exactly is ADHD and how does it manifest?

There are generally 3 types of ADHD, and while many teachers have been trained to recognise hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, other symptoms are harder to spot. This is why I, like many others, got diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

The ADHD brain regulates attention and emotions differently to its neurotypical counterpart, and this can pose certain challenges in the classroom for both learners and their teachers. However, with the right support and encouragement, students with ADHD can thrive! Remember that ADHD is much more than a disability. People with ADHD are incredibly creative, tenacious, adventurous and empathetic, even if I do say so myself!

In this webinar, I’ll be drawing on my own experiences with ADHD as a student and an educator, sharing the most common ADHD symptoms, and exploring some techniques and activities that will support students with ADHD.

Download the PDF handout from this session: Reward systems for students with ADHD

Ozgu Ozturk and Tuba Kizilkan: Divergence in EFL Teaching: Supporting Neurodivergent Students

Education is undeniably a benefit for all children; nevertheless, for a small group of students, particularly those with learning disabilities, referred to as "neurodivergent students," learning a language might be more difficult and time-consuming than learning something else. Should we disregard them simply because that is the case? This presentation intends to demonstrate English as a foreign language teachers' attitudes about EFL teaching to students with dyslexia, as well as some ideas and suggestions for intervention strategies. Two Turkish EFL specialists discuss their research and suggestions for supporting dyslexic learners in the EFL classroom. The presenters will offer a brief overview of dyslexia and describe the findings of their research. They will next deliver a session in which they will demonstrate how to use Mind Mapping and Assistive Technology to support students with dyslexia in the EFL classroom.

Panel discussion - all speakers

In this final session, we will discuss some of the key issues from each of the sessions. The panel discussion will be an opportunity for you to ask the presenters questions related to the topic. 

About the speakers

Marie Delaney

Marie is a teacher, educational psychotherapist, trainer and writer based in Crosshaven, Cork.  She focuses on finding practical ways to promote inclusion and supporting teachers to engage more students in learning, particularly on including those who seem ‘unreachable’.

Her publications include ‘What can I do with the kid who?’ Worth Publishing. (2010,). ‘Attachment for Teachers’ Worth Publishing (2017)  and  for Oxford University Press, ‘Into the Classroom : Special Educational Needs ‘(2016). She is co-author of the British Council teachers’ course materials on Inclusion. 

Katy Asbury

Katy Asbury is a former ELT teacher and experienced learning designer, with a passion for inclusivity. She led the learning design on a project to develop an Erasmus+  funded SEN toolkit for teachers in mainstream schools around Europe, and has just finished developing an inclusivity toolkit for the British Council with a specific focus on ELT teachers in remote contexts in the Americas. Katy also helped to develop LearnJam’s Inclusive Learning Design (ILXD) framework.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith has worked as an EFL/ESL teacher in Senegal, Japan, Ecuador and Turkey. She was a teacher and mentor in Thailand and France and is now based in Greece where she initially worked as an academic manager and a teacher trainer. Her areas of interest are teacher training and development, reflective practice, student-centred learning, holistic child development, incorporating life skills in the classroom and encouraging a sense of progress through learning to learn techniques. She is an advocate for inclusive classroom practices which provide a safe learning environment for all teachers and students. She is the co-founder and director of

Ozgu Ozturk

Ozgu Ozturk teaches English as a foreign language in a secondary school in Turkey. She is also a trainer for dyslexia. She does action research on ELT-related studies. She publishes blog posts to multiple international ELT magazines as well as the TeachingEnglish blog of the British Council.

Tuba Kizilkan

Tuba Kizilkan has been an ELT Professional for around 21 years, teaching English at all levels. She is a practitioner of Mind Mapping, Speed Reading, and Memory methods, as well as Neuro Linguistic Programming. She has been performing academic research on Linguistics, ELT, Mind Mapping, and Education with an emphasis on Linguistics, Neuroscience, and Languages.




Submitted by Aynura Rahimova on Sun, 01/08/2023 - 04:59

It is an excellent and very productive webinar!
Thanks again for your knowledge!

Submitted by Costea Raluca Olga on Mon, 12/19/2022 - 06:50

Thank you for this opportunity

Submitted by muhammadkauseralam on Fri, 12/02/2022 - 18:40

I'm feeling lucky to join the webinar. Excellent penel discussion!! Thanks all.

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Mon, 12/05/2022 - 15:40

In reply to by muhammadkauseralam

Hi Muhammadkauseralam

We are glad you enjoyed the event and the discussion!


TeachingEnglish Team

Submitted by Anchoa on Thu, 12/01/2022 - 12:55

I think this matter is so relevant, and has lots of momentum at the moment, so it is very much appreciated that BC is on it with this amazing-looking event.

I was wondering, if you would consider exploring/ bringing the subject of neurodivergence in teachers as well.
Considering many are in an age-range that didn't get so much knowledge, diagnosis, etc. to start with, but also struggle.

Once again, thank you for the fantastic content knowledge you provide!

Submitted by Cath McLellan on Thu, 12/01/2022 - 15:21

In reply to by Anchoa

Hi Anchoa

Glad that you are excited about this event. Thanks also for your suggestion about including neurodivergence in teachers - that's a very interesting (and overlooked!) area too - we'll keep it in mind for future webinars.

Hope you enjoy the webinars tomorrow,


TeachingEnglish Team

Submitted by Ebraheem Abd E… on Fri, 11/25/2022 - 20:54

I intend to share

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