Blog Challenge-A Disabled-Access Friendly world: Lessons for the ELT classroom

Disabled-Access Friendly

Disabled-Access Friendly

My blog has sported the Disabled-Access Friendly Logo for quite some time now. But I have been feeling that, apart from that, I haven’t been doing much about the problems of disabled people.

My own culture has a short tradition of being friendly to people with disabilities of all kinds, physical or mental.

Watch this video reporting the current situation in Greece.

This blog challenge  hopes to stimulate  language  teachers- whether they are teaching English as a Foreign Language or  not –  to produce  activities and lessons aiming to raise disability awareness in their learners.

We do need to  students to create a society which is more disabled friendly,  does not hide its disabled children in sheds or basements and allows them to lead a full life where moving around and accessing services, employment or education opportunities are not considered something special, but natural givens.

Inviting Bloggers to Participate

The blog challenge aims to encourage bloggers to contribute lesson ideas for the foreign language classroom which will be aimed at younger learners and teens and which will promote the concept of a disabled-friendly world where people who have mobility issues can have easy access to services, places of learning, public and private spaces easily and safely.

You can get involved too!

  • Join the Disabled Access-Friendly Group on Facebook
  • Share lesson ideas and links
  • Take part in this blog challenge
  • Raise awareness in your students. The pupils and teens of today may be the decision makers of tomorrow!

Inaugural Blog Post Announcement


Dr.Luke Prodromou

Dr.Luke Prodromou

To launch this challenge, I have invited Dr.Luke Prodromou to write a blog post which he has agreed to do with great eagerness as he is very much involved  in promoting this cause and is already working with Paul Shaw and others who started to group on Facebook.

At present, they are collecting material which will be uploaded on the website which is being designed to house it and make it accessible to teachers:  http://www.disabled-accessfriendly.com

There are already many teachers who are trying to create a bank of materials to this end.

Your posts will be listed and presented both on this blog as well as on the website. More details about this will be announced later.

To get you started, here is a great lesson plan which I found by browsing the Greek Disabled Access-Friendly page on Facebook

Put this Challenge on your front burner!

… and make your students imagine and see how the world would be different and how they can be a part of this too.

Background Post

Blog Posts In the Challenge

  1. My Post for Marisa Constantinides’ Blog Challenge – A Disabled-Access Friendly World - Lesson around a poem – by Vicky Loras – @vickyloras on Twitter
  2. A Disabled-Access Friendly World: A Lesson for the Business English classroom - contributed by Claire Hart – @claire_hart on Twitter
  3. My Post for the “Disabled Access-Friendly World” Blog Challenge – contributed by Naomi Epstein - @naomishema on Twitter
  4. Blog Challenge: A Disabled Access Friendly World: Lessons for the ELT Classroom - contributed by David Petrie, Teflgeek on Facebook
  5. My Contribution to a Disabled-Access Friendly World - contributed by Eva Buyuksimkesian – @evab2001 0n Twitter.
  6. The Accessibility Audit: The disabled access friendly world blog challenge - contributed by David Petrie, @teflgeek on Twitter
  7. The Disabled-Access Friendly Blog: Creature DIscomforts – contributed by David Petrie,@teflgeek on Twitter
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19 Comments

  1. Vicky Loras says:

    Hi Marisa!

    Excellent idea, both to touch upon this subject and to think of a blog challenge on the topic of disability. Once more, we can see your sensitivity as a person and educator.

    I will be very happy to read Luke’s blog post – he is one of the many educators I amdire and love reading. When I was in Greece, I had attended some of his talks and he was great (that goes without saying, of course!).

    I have already started thinking how to contribute to this blog challenge – it is so important and educators should touch upon this topic regularly. It needs to be brought up more often – and I think you have succeeded in doing this!

    Bravo Marisa. We are very lucky to know you and learn from you.

    Kindest regards,
    Vicky

    • Marisa Constantinides says:

      Dear Vicky,

      Thank you for commenting and helping promote this on Twitter, too.

      I really look forward to your contribution; your posts are always concerned not with the practical aspects of teaching foreign languages but with many of the larger issues, so I’m not surprised you were the first to respond.

      Marisa

  2. ddeubel says:

    Marisa,

    Great stuff and I’ll see what I can do to contribute!

    I got my start in “educational” technology by a fascination at how so much of existing technology was derived originally to help the disabled – be that be blind, deaf, physical, mental. I wondered why there was a very non acknowledgement of this fact in education and further, why there weren’t more people interested in taking what exists to help the disabled and use that for the benefit of learners (especially ELLs). I think communication tablets (used for the severely physically challenged) have huge potential in the language classroom. So many more ideas too….

    What I’m saying in a nutshell is that we who use educational technology are indebted to the disabled community. Let’s pay it forward.

    David

    • Hi David,

      You are so right about paying it forward! I am guessing that most teachers who use technology so happily don’t know how much of it was originally developed for this purpose.

      Thank you for taking part in this.

      Marisa

  3. Hi Marisa
    You may enjoy this article by the BBC today :-) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9485513.stm

    Carol

    • Marisa Constantinides says:

      This looks just like the kind of material useful for lesson plans in this blog challenge.

      Thanks Carol.

      Marisa

  4. Good luck with the challenge!

  5. 3 cheers for bringing up this important topic!
    As a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students I would like to point that teachers of special ed classes must also discuss this issue with their students. The fact that my students don’t hear well deosn’t make them sensitive to the issue of disabilities. In fact, since some view deafness as a culture and not a disability, they can have the same prejudices as anyone else!

    • Dear Naomi

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights from your own teaching context. Was somewhat surprised at your comment, but I guess kids are kids, they all need lessons in empathy and understanding.

      Great to see you here

      Marisa

    • Many thanks for contributing to this Blog Challenge, Naomi. Your post was fascinating given your current teaching situation and your student audience.

      Marisa

  6. Phil says:

    This is a really interesting area to explore – it can be overlooked in some sectors.

    I don’t feel qualified enough to participate in a big way, but I thought that this link might be of use to English Language Teachers:

    http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/pdf/ESOL%20Access%20for%20All%20P1.pdf

    http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=100128

    They are links to different parts of a document that explores the issues which differing conditions can have in the classroom, and describes problems that may be faced at different stages of the curriculum.

  7. David says:

    Hi Marisa,

    A great challenge and one I’ve enjoyed thinking about – I’ve put my ideas up here: http://teflgeek.net/2011/05/24/blog-challenge-a-disabled-access-friendly-world-lessons-for-the-elt-classroom/
    Though I was thinking more about sight, speech, hearing and sense disabilities rather than mobility. But I had another idea on the walk to work this morning, so stay tuned for something more relevant!
    all the best,
    David

    • Great write up and lesson ideas, David, thanks very much for taking part in the challenge.

      I love your idea of giving the students a taste of what it feels to be disabled. In fact, my own blog post which I plan to contribute to the challenge runs on a very similar theme, but I will keep the rest on hold until it’s done!

      Marisa

  8. David Petrie says:

    Hi Marisa,

    A new disability access post: http://teflgeek.net/2011/06/29/the-disabled-access-friendly-world-blog-challenge-creature-discomforts/

    Basically, it’s all about the resources you can find via the Leonard Cheshire Disability websites and how to use some these resources with learners.

    All the best,
    David

  9. Dear blogger friends,

    Yes, those of you who who have commented on this post or contributed to this challenge with your own teaching ideas, lessons, worksheets…

    May I encourage you to visit the new website below and see if you could upload or link your material to that in some way?

    Thank you all so much for participating in this challenge.

    It saddens me that it was not a very popular one.

    Not so many bloggers came up with material or a related blog post to at least spread awareness amongst their students or their peers – as for other, much less significant causes…

    I guess this one wasn’t seen as a “fun challenge”…

    But I do want to persevere because disability is not something to sweep under the carpet and pretend it’s not happening all around us.

    Please visit this website

    http://www.disabled-accessfriendly.com/

    Please support and upload or share

    Thank you all so much – you are stars!

    Marisa

  10. The Disabled Access Friendly campaign uses EFL to raise awareness about issues affecting people with mobility disability. On behalf of the campaign, I would like to thank Marisa Constantinides for her valuable support. Inviting her blog readers to contribute relevant teaching material to the campaign has produced some stimulating ideas for use in the classroom.

    Thank you to all of you who responded to Marisa’s invitation by thinking about mobility disability issues and posting a contribution. All these contributions have already been gratefully received by the campaign and will be considered for publication online (we don’t actually offer the possibility to link to or upload directly to our site). Thank you in advance to anyone still planning to prepare something but who hasn’t got round to it yet – it is never too late!

    I would encourage everyone to visit our site http://www.disabled-accessfriendly.com, where you can find free EFL teaching material raising awareness about mobility disability, graded reading texts, information on how to support the Disabled Access Friendly campaign, guidelines on preparing teaching material and other useful information and material.

    “The best schools 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.” Dr. Luke Prodromou.

    Katie Quartano
    Disabled Access Friendly campaign.

  11. Alex Case says:

    I’m incredibly late on this, but suddenly remembered I used two differing accounts from a BBC travel page on whether Japan is or isn’t disabled access friendly with a one-to-one student – good for working out the bias in people’s writing. The article doesn’t seem to be on the site anymore, but I’m sure you could find similar differing views on that or other countries.

    Just included this post on my list of campaigning TEFL blogs and blog posts:
    http://tefltastic.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/campaigning-tefl-blogs/

    Please let me know if you have or know of any more.

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