Video is a part of how students communicate with each other in their everyday lives, and teachers know that it is becoming a vital component in maintaining students’ interest and focus in the classroom, which is especially important for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), writes scholarship winner, Julia Koifman. In order to achieve greater integration of video into an EFL course in SEN schools, we need to get away from the traditional idea that video is too complicated for understanding or that it is a way to fill a lesson gap, when the kids give up studying. Although it is sometimes a way of keeping SEN kids in class and to prevent them from leaving a “boring lesson” and getting into trouble, it has a great educational effect.
Learning technology (LT) is very effective in heterogeneous classes, especially in the junior-high and high school. In my school we often conduct video lessons. Teenage students of any learning disabilities (LD) and level of knowledge are engaged in collaborative projects where learning becomes the result of released creative power, involvement and participation in a positive and motivating environment where teachers become partners and assistants rather than instructors.
As Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. So it should be an important aspect of teaching and learning. However, it depends on us, teachers, that creativity finds a place in our classrooms. Creativity has multiple interpretations and can be judged from different perspectives: creative teachers or creative students? First of all, creative teachers should design creative tasks and develop creativity in their students.
Using creativity in SEN classroom is important because it increases motivation, empowers learners, helps them to create a sense of excitement and self-esteem. Without the latter SEN students cannot believe in themselves and give up learning. Some perceived barriers to creativity are routine, close-end tasks, fear of being wrong or making mistakes, tight rules and perception that fun is not conductive to learning. As a result, SEN students, especially with ADHD, become inattentive and misbehave.
Those who have dyslexia and dysgraphia, complain that they cannot read and write without mistakes, are tired and have no power, etc. However, there are many possible reasons for this type of behavior. If we can try to understand the underlying reasons and identify the needs of the learner, we can find teaching strategies to support them. So varying what we do in the classroom, going for open-ended tasks, creating a safe environment for risk taking, having flexible rules according to aims and allowing for experimentation are some ways of creating an atmosphere where creativity can arise more easily.
Multisensory techniques entail a simultaneous use of all sensory channels – visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile, which can be gained with the help of LT. It is highly recommended while teaching SEN children. It means helping them to learn through more than one sense. Most remedial teaching techniques are done using sight, hearing and touching – thus, while typing they memorize the order of letters on the keyboard. The latter can be done while playing traditional table games and it is useful especially while the students are learning reading rules and spelling, for instance, a learner sees the word, says it aloud and practices spelling, e.g. by tracing the spelling pattern on the flash card or with their fingers on the table. It is a part of mnemonic techniques, which help SEN students to memorize difficult words. It is especially important for kids with dyslexia who need to use sight, hearing, movement and touch. The SEN child’s sight is also used in reading instructions from board and textbooks, looking at pictures or reading comprehension.
To sum up, LT is heavily influencing education. Therefore, teachers are becoming more interested in the value it can add to teaching and assessment. With the help of computers, televisions and personal mobile devices it has become possible not only to conduct successful video lessons in SEN classes, but also get your students involved in making their own video materials as well. Making videos with digital cameras and editing software is not only a great way to create innovative products using technology, but also a powerful tool to enhance language learning and to increase motivation and autonomy in students with different disorders and other problems with health. Teenage students with any LD are engaged in collaborative projects where learning becomes the result of their creative power, involvement and participation in a positive and motivating environment.
Here is a short clip from the start of Julia’s presentation in Brighton:
In addition, Elisa Effendy interviewed Julia after her presentation in Brighton:
Scholarships for Liverpool: If you are interested in applying for a Scholarship to attend the IATEFL 2019 conference in Liverpool, details will be available here from the end of May.