For more information on the Campaign see in this issue of HLT:
Disabled Access Friendly Campaign: Sample Activities
Disabled Access Friendly Campaign
submitted by Luke Prodromou, Greece
About Disabled Access Friendly
How to get involved in the Disabled Access Friendly campaign and be a teacher who makes a difference for tomorrow
Disabled Access Friendly: writers’ guidelines for materials
In the hurly-burly of everyday teaching and writing materials for the classroom, we may forget that we the teachers can, through our teaching and contact with young people, help shape society. The best teachers – and ELT authors - 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.
The Disabled Access Friendly campaign targets privately owned Foreign Language Centres in Greece, where the vast majority of children attend in order to learn foreign languages, usually English. The campaign is aimed primarily at children with difficulties in walking and who use wheelchairs. An important activity of the campaign is to provide teachers with free, downloadable material that can be used in the classroom for skills building and examination practice, but that will at the same time raise awareness about issues affecting people with physical disabilities.
Philosophy of the campaign
Encourage language teaching that raises awareness of the needs of people with physical disabilities
Sensitise children to the needs of people with physical disabilities, both in and outside the classroom
The best Foreign Language Centres already extend the work they do in language teaching to raise pupils’ awareness of the society in which they live and try and make it a better place. This awareness of the world in which we live and the belief that through their own actions students have the ability to make improvements, is at the heart of education. People with physical disabilities are currently disabled more by poor infrastructure, other people and their attitudes than by their own physical situation. Only by showing children that people with disabilities do not have to be an invisible minority, but vibrant and valued members of society, can we expect future generations to want changes. Only by providing children with the information necessary to allow them to put themselves in other people’s shoes, to understand others and to feel what others feel can we expect those changes to be made. Only then can the future become a more enlightened one.
Scope of the campaign
Foreign Language Centres in Greece
Children with mobility problems
This campaign targets privately owned Foreign Language Centres in Greece, which the vast majority of Greek children attend in order to learn foreign languages, usually English. The campaign fousses primarily on children with difficulties in walking and in wheelchairs.
Aims of the campaign
Provide teachers with material
Encourage improvements in accessibility
The campaign aims to provide teachers of English as a foreign language with material that can be used in teaching and skills building as well as examination practice, but that will at the same time raise awareness about issues affecting people with physical disabilities. Moreover, language centre owners will be encouraged to make small changes to their premises so that students (and teachers) with physical disabilities will be able to enter and leave their premises with dignity and ease, and participate in the centre’s activities. These efforts will contribute to forging stronger bonds between the Foreign Language Centre and the community.
How do we do this?
Website with material and information
Forum to share experiences
The campaign’s website is addressed to both people with and without physical disabilities as one community. It provides Foreign Language Centre owners with useful information on the needs of students with physical disabilities, provides teachers with material and worksheets for use in the classroom, and provides all of us with a forum to share our experiences either as, or with, people with physical disabilities.
Some of the people in the campaign
Paul Shaw, a wheelchair user, is the ‘leader’ and inspiration for the campaign.
Katie Quartano and Luke Prodromou are the members of the committee coordinating the campaign.
Spread the word
Kindly spread the word amongst your colleagues by sending them this handout or posting it to your site, together with the free lessons provided by Rachel Finnie and Luke Prodromou. If you are attending an ELT event, maybe you could consider acting as an ambassador for the campaign. We would provide information and handouts, or you could just talk about the Disabled Access Friendly campaign to colleagues and put them in touch with us. Several ELT colleagues have already kindly acted in this way as ambassadors for the campaign and spread the word at the 2nd ISTEK Schools International ELT Conference, Istanbul 2-3 April 2011, at the 9th ELTA IATEFL conference, Novi Sad, Serbia, 8-9 April 2011, and at the 45th Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition, Brighton, U.K., 15th-19th April, 2011.
Use the Disabled Access Friendly campaign’s teaching material
Please use the campaign’s free downloadable teaching material. Our site www.disabled-accessfriendly.com will be launched soon, and we will let you know when it is ready. Already you can use the lessons kindly provided by Luke Prodromou and Rachel Finnie. Our material not only builds language skills and provides exam practice, but also raises awareness about people with mobility/disability and the challenges they face, and about different aspects of human diversity and how social integration can be an enriching experience for all. The material encourages students to notice their own and others’ behaviour and attitudes towards people with mobility/disability and to become more sensitive, positive and supportive where necessary.
Contribute teaching material yourself
You could send in a simple idea, suggestion, worksheet or contribute a full lesson-plan with activities. We would welcome any kind of contribution from teachers or other interested persons - you do not have to be a materials writer to contribute. We can all make use of our teaching or life experience to suggest ideas for a lesson or a particular text that could be used. You can send in an idea, an outline, or material which you think would make a good lesson at any level and for any age group. Every little bit helps. If necessary, we would then develop your idea into a more fully-fledged lesson or worksheet.
Involve student teachers
If you are a teacher trainer then you might be able to get student teachers involved. Student teachers could write a lesson or worksheet that helps raise awareness, with the incentive that perhaps it will be uploaded to the Disabled Access Friendly site and used by teachers worldwide
Share your own experience
Our website will also have a section entitled “Tell Your Story”, where we will upload personal accounts from people’s experiences either with or as a person with physical disabilities. Many people have at some time in their lives been touched by an issue to do with disability that they would like to give voice to, to help raise awareness. We would also welcome short accounts of what policies member schools or institutions have regarding the inclusion of students with mobility problems.
The teaching material aims to:
- raise students’ awareness of people with disabilities and the challenges they face
- raise awareness about different aspects of human diversity and how social integration can be an enriching experience for all
- encourage students to notice their own and others’ behaviour and attitudes towards people with physical disabilities and to provide the means to help them act in order to improve their behaviour and attitudes to make them more sensitive, positive and supportive where necessary.
- Sending in a simple idea or suggestion for this kind of teaching material
We would welcome any kind of contribution from teachers or other interested persons - you most certainly do not have to be a materials writer to contribute. We can all make use of our teaching or life experience to suggest ideas for a lesson or a particular text that could be used. You can send in an idea, an outline, or material which you think would make a good lesson at any level and for any age group. Every little bit helps. We would then develop your idea into a more fully fledged lesson or worksheet.
- Sending in a more detailed lesson
You can also of course send in a more detailed lesson which can be self-explanatory or a lesson accompanied by teacher’s notes, so other teachers can teach it or adapt the material in their own way. Here are more detailed guidelines to bear in mind:
- The material may take the form of reading texts, quizzes, questionnaires, games, surveys, webquests, project work or some form of writing activity.
- The material can be at any level from beginner to advanced.
- The age-group at which the material is aimed can be young learners to adults
- The material can be average lesson length for a particular learning context or it can be designed to be taught over two or more lessons.
- The material can be designed for classroom or for out of class activities or both (as for example in the case of surveys, webquests and questionnaires).
- The material should be specifically about people with physical disabilities and their potential for active participation in all aspects of life, such as issues of access to places of education, work, public services, buildings, entertainment, transportation, issues affecting their everyday ability to move about and live independently, and other people’s attitudes and behaviour towards them.
- The material may aim to practise language or skills, grammar, vocabulary or functions, or to provide facts, general knowledge and cultural awareness.
- Style: the material may be serious or humorous, but always respectful of social difference and the dignity of others.
- Genre: the material may be in the form of dialogues or continuous texts and may be drawn from a variety of genres.
- In addition to the material itself (reading texts, dialogues, discussions, quizzes, questionnaires etc) you may like to provide a set of teachers’ notes that state the general and specific aims of the material (in terms of language, skills or awareness raising) in addition to providing a detailed lesson plan and key with suggested answers.
- Avoid creating material which will involve the production of original graphic or visual material. If you wish to use visuals, try and use material which is available free on the internet.
Contributors of ideas or actual teaching material can chose to remain anonymous on the site, or to have their name mentioned as being the author of the material, or the person on whose idea the material was based, or even to have their biography available on the site for publicity purposes.
If you are considering sending in an idea of some material, but would like to first see an interim version of the website, with examples of the kind of material we are looking for, please contact Disabled Access Friendly directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also use this address to send in your idea or contribution.