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How to teach learners with special needs

I am a physically disabled person. I have cerebral palsy and I am a wheelchair user. I graduated in English four years ago and when I entered college my idea was to work as a translator.

However, after some time I realized I did not fit in the profession. Therefore, I decided to become a teacher, in spite of all the difficulties I would have to overcome.

I have just started my career as an EFL teacher and in this article, I intend to share with you the challenges I faced in my first experience as a teacher. I additionally do some interesting work for students who follow an online course with Covcell.com to get their high school equivalency diploma, a job that suits me pretty well.

How I got the job

A friend of mine called and asked me if I would like to teach Basic English to a group of about 15 physically challenged learners at the Association for the disabled in Curitiba.

The aim of the course was to increase the students’ chances of getting better jobs. This project was sponsored by state government funds; the learners didn’t have to pay for the course and the course books were included. I liked the idea very much and accepted the job. Continue reading

Moving and A New Job – TEFL!

I want to give a quick update for those of you asking how things are going. In short, they are going near perfectly. We are moving into my husband’s grandma’s house that has been empty for four years.

We’ve been doing some major cleaning and organizing (while doing Vacation Bible School every night this week) and now it’s time to move all the stuff in. Tomorrow will be an all-out blitz of carpet cleaning and furniture moving. I expect me and the hubby will be dog tired tomorrow night, but at least we’ll be in our house.

I know our presence in the saint of a mother-in-law’s house has been stressful. She’s organized and likes a clean house. Enter 7 dispossessed slobs with all their donated clothes and stuff in boxes and bags and a few random suitcases. It’s not pretty. I know she’s not freaking out about it or anything, but I still feel a little guilty about it.

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Evolution of a Teacher’s Toolbox

 

The recent  TEFL Teachers’ Conference was an inspiring experience, now I’ve had time to reflect, these are my own personal highlights from what I learned.  As with any event, each person will take away their own snapshots and apply it to their own understanding and situation.

These are very personal reflections and I will try to refer to sources wherever possible – and apologize in advance if I portray what was said in a different way to how it was intended or if I get my references wrong.

There were 2 stand-out keynote speakers for me – lots of other very interesting keynotes too, but these were my learning highlights of the week. Listening to Professor Sugata Mitra talking about his Hole in the Wall project was thought-provoking, humbling and puts teachers in their place by putting children in theirs – in control of their learning.

Just take a look at this video where Professor Sugata Mitra speaks on another occasion, but similar to the EFL conference:

David Rogers reflected on this approach to teaching in his recent blog post here.  Like David, I found this approach by accident, when trying out new tools with the children and finding that sometimes when I take a step back, then they learn even more than when I am controlling every step of their learning experience!

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Online Tools Review of StudySpider

There is a neat, new free service on the market right now aimed at both students and teachers. This cool new study notes online tool features a revolutionary system that allows you to easily upload all of your study notes or lessons plans, and store them online. The system immediately goes to work creating a searchable database of all of your notes, featuring note pages with automatically generated links to other relevant pages of notes you have.

Essentially they build a cool website out for your notes that looks and feels a lot like Wikipedia – but it’s all about your notes. It does not end there. StudyUp allows you to network with other students studying similar subjects or topics. The StudyUp “StudySpider” scans your notes and cross-references your information with all notes in the StudyUp database. Recommendations are then made to the user for networking opportunities.

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What is TESOL-TEFL and why it matters

The School for International Training (S.I.T.) offers a 130-hour TESOL course taught by individuals trained by the prestigious university. The course provides participants with an opportunity to develop new skills with the help of experts in the exciting and growing field of TESOL-TEFL. So check out here what is TESOL-TEFL and why it matters.

TESOL stands for: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TEFL is short for: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The innovative course curriculum was designed by S.I.T. faculty, based on humanistic, experiential and progressive teaching methods. The course provides practical training through teaching demonstrations, lesson planning & analysis, practice teaching, and feedback. Participants develop skills in teaching, speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar and culture.

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TEFL certification to start a brand new life!

If you want to gain overseas living experience, discover another culture, learn another language, improve your C.V., develop more confidence, make international friends, take a break from your regular routine or all of the above, getting the S.I.T. TESOL CERTIFICATE is the way to begin. So get your TEFL certification to start a brand new life!

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. You will also hear the training and the profession referred to as TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) and TESL (teaching English as a second language).

The TESOL / TEFL / TESL profession continues to grow, propelled by the fact that English is the lingua franca of the world. Ask anyone in a non-English speaking country what skills are needed to succeed in school and business and the ability to speak English will be one of the first things mentioned.

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Being a Teacher with Visual Impairment

Following Roddy Kaye’s comprehensive coverage of organizations and survey of the current situation in ELT regarding Special Needs in Issue 158, we thought readers would be interested in the following interview with Müyesser Yenier, a blind-since-birth English teacher working in a state school in Turkey.

How did you become interested in learning English?

I started like any other student, but as time passed I realized I was interested in English. I did well at school, passed the university entrance exam, and won a place at the Aegean University, Department of English Language and Literature in Izmir. My tutors saw I was determined to learn and they helped me.

Did you enjoy studying at University? Continue reading

What are poster sessions and why they matter

Professional conferences often have a category of presentations called ‘poster sessions’. Poster presenters hang their posters on panels for passers-by to see; the role of the presenter is to discuss the content with interested people. Poster presenters are generally given a public area for their displays, in close proximity to one another, and designated an amount of time, whether it is for a day or only an hour or two.

If you have ever seen poster presentations, they may have contributed to your fond memories of past conferences. To people who have experienced successful conference poster sessions, or presented one themselves, the points I am about to make may be readily apparent. Continue reading

Searching for Learning materials for your students

Before leaving on my trip back to the States I was really looking forward to getting away from it all. I never expected that I would suddenly be obsessed with the search for authentic materials. However, in planning the trip I started to consider what I wanted to bring back to Japan. The list of things for the classroom started getting longer than the personal items. So, before leaving I listed all the materials I would try to look for. Nothing big, nothing heavy and nothing expensive became the rule.

Where to look

First, I had to categorize what I wanted based on what I knew I could probably find easily. The airport and plane, of course, are an excellent source of such material. Among others on my ‘shopping list’ were; airport information guides (San Francisco International Airport was a great resource, while my final destination, Boston was not), menus (small shops inside shopping malls were an excellent source of simple one page menus that you could take home and could be easily used in the classroom). Not only were the proprietors willing to have you take them, but they also turned out be useful for in-class activities. Information desks around the city offered a wide variety of information that was free and could be used in classroom activities. Continue reading

How to best write a TEFL CV

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is a popular option not only for graduates but also for career changers. How you should write your CV best is depending on your specific background and the job specifications.
Guidelines, general qualifications, and experience are two crucial factors, but it’s good to note that different countries have different and specific requirements.

In most countries, you need to have a degree to obtain a visa, while TEFL qualification often comes in only as secondary. Most European countries, though, as well as a lot of organizations, require both a degree, Trinity Cert Tesol or CELTA certification, and relevant experience, also for entry-level positions. Further qualification, for example, a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics or Delta qualification, may be required for a higher-level position.

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