Guidelines for Teachers on How to Use the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign’s Free EFL Graded Reading Texts Raising Awareness About Mobility Disability
Katie Quartano, Greece
Katie Quartano has a CELTA qualification, works as an EFL oral examiner, is employed by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and works actively on the Disabled Access Friendly campaign. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.disabled-accessfriendly.com
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Disabled Access Friendly campaign’s free EFL resources
What our reading texts include
Examples of the campaign’s EFL graded reading texts
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When you became a teacher did you have a vision that you would be able to do something more than just teach the English language? For education embraces
- social improvement
- respect for others
- the promotion of well-being
- truth, fairness and equality
As a teacher do you want to
- encourage students to bridge the gaps between ideals and reality
- equip children to become adults who will take responsibility for the world they inhabit
- stimulate children to think and question what they see and hear
However do you find that within the confines of the syllabus and the exams it can sometimes be difficult to find appropriate material that allows you to do this?
This is where the Disabled Access Friendly campaign’s free online EFL teaching resources can help.
The campaign’s free online material facilitates teachers in developing students’ social conscience, making lessons meaningful, and encouraging critical thinking through a curriculum of social empathy. The resources consist of lesson plans and graded reading texts at all levels, which can be used as supplementary material, for project work and examination practice. The material provides students with the information necessary to allow them to put themselves in the shoes of someone with a mobility disability and stimulates them to explore how others feel and to understand others. In this article only the graded reading texts, not the lesson plans, are explained below.
(a) A clear summary for teachers
|A dog on wheels|
by Katie Quartano
|A1||Young learners||A dog which has a disability||Simple present||General||Reading|
(b) A glossary.
The glossary is in pictorial form at lower levels, and provides dictionary definitions relevant to the text at higher levels.
These questions practice the grammar/vocabulary introduced in the text, test comprehension of the text and that stimulate critical thinking about the issues raised in the text about mobility disability.
A1 level “A dog on wheels”
This short text is about a dog whose back legs are injured and it is therefore harnessed to wheels so it can move. The topic of “pets” appeals to young learners and the text practises the present simple tense, and uses very simple vocabulary. Here is an excerpt from the text, showing how we both practice the present simple and stimulate children to think about what are appropriate and inappropriate things to say to someone with a disability.
I have four legs but my two back legs don’t work! So I use wheels.
My dog friends in the park say “Max, why do you have wheels?”
The question “Max, why do you have wheels” leads easily onto whether it would be appropriate to ask a wheelchair user why they can’t walk.
A2 level “Video games”
This text talks about the different video games that a group of children enjoy playing and practises adverbs of frequency.
Steve always plays Fighting Heroes with his friend Owen. Steve usually wins and Owen doesn’t like this.
One of the children has a mobility disability and the text both talks about a video game whose hero is a wheelchair user, and also introduces readers to the concept of adaptive technology, which makes it easier for people with disabilities to use a computer.
Some children can’t play video games because their hands don’t work and they can’t hold the mouse. Some children can’t hear well. Some children can’t see well. All these children want to play video games too. Can we do something to help them?
Good news! New technology can help these children. For example they can use a different mouse. They can have subtitles on the screen, or a screen that is very bright. Now there are video games for these children too.
B1 level “Facebook asks what you dislike most about being a wheelchair user”
Teenagers will enjoy the colloquial language, which is punchy and thought provoking.
I’m in a wheelchair but I sit on my ass not my brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As well as practising direct speech, the text makes students to see life from someone else’s perspective.
B2 level “Basketball”
Basketball is a subject that appeals to many teenagers. This text is based on an account written by a member of Great Britain’s wheelchair basketball team, who became disabled after a motorbike accident. The text practices a variety of past tenses.
As I was driving the motorbike, the wind got under my helmet
because it wasn’t done up tight enough.
I decided to go back to basketball, which I had always loved,
but this time in a wheelchair.
The wheelchair basketball team had been getting stale and the players were not motivated.
C1 level “30 days”
A month is about the shortest length of time in which you can get a true understanding of a lifestyle or existence very different from your own. So what would you discover if you used a wheelchair for a month? How would your life change? The text offers practice of the passive voice and asks readers to add to a list of observations such as:
Your floor gets dirty really easily as dirt is brought in on your wheels.
You are frequently asked personal questions about why you are a wheelchair user by
C2 level “Wheelchairs and the workplace”
This text is written by a wheelchair user, who has recently graduated from university and is entering the job market. She says:
We all have an internal check list when considering employment opportunities, such as training, career development, location and salary, but my check list also has to include the equally important subjects of lifts, ramps, and accessible toilets.
This text can be used to stimulate a lively class discussion.
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The best teachers have always done more than just prepare students for tests.
They raise awareness of the world in which we live and try to make it a better place.
Please check the Special Needs and Inclusive Learning course at Pilgrims website.