Discussions with Spring Day 2017 speakers

Listen to our podcast interviews 


 

  Judith Kormos                                                        Alison Heal
   Spring Day Plenary Speaker                           Spring Day speaker on Dyslexia

 

 


 

 

Q&A with Rachael Harris and Gerard McLoughlin


 
 
 
 

Rachael Harris (aka fabenglishteacher) 
is one of our speakers at this year's Spring Day event.    

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, I teach English in a secondary school in Geneva, Switzerland, where I was responsible for producing our SEN policy. I’m Teens and YL SIG coordinator for ETAS, The Swiss association of English teachers and I’m newsletter editor for the newest IATEFL SIG - Inclusive Practices and SEN.

2. What does inclusive practice mean to you? 

For me IP is taking a moment to think about using activities and resources that are suitable for everyone in my class - for example using worksheets that are easy to read for everyone, doing activities that everyone can learn from, with extension activities for those who aren’t stretched. IP means assessing everyone on the same lesson objectives and giving everyone a chance to learn and develop new skills in the same class.

3. What is the first piece of advice you would give to a teacher who wants to better help their student(s) with SpLDs, but does not know where to begin?

I always found the statement “ Get to know your own students” particularly unhelpful, even if in the long term it is the best way to help them. The most useful things to do is read up on some SENs, the pocketbook series is a quick and useful way of getting information, and we can quickly see that many SpLDs have overlapping issues such as short-term memory issues or problems with self-esteem.
Of course the best thing is to join the IATEFL IP & SEN special interest group or check out our website at http://ipsen.iatefl.org !!

4. What can people expect from your workshop/ panel discussion?

I’m really looking forward to the panel discussion as it will be an opportunity to find out how these topics are dealt with in France and other european countries.

5. What are you looking forward to from the conference?

As always, one of the things I really enjoy in conferences is the chance to meet and share experiences with other teachers, none of us are experts in this field as we are discovering new things every day, and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say on this subject.

I can’t wait to see everyone there!
 

 
 
We caught up with Gerard, one of our Spring Day 2017 speakers, who took some time to share his story, his experience with SpLDs, and what to expect from his workshop/panel discussion.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live and work in Barcelona as a teacher and teacher trainer. After working in different countries I have finally found my soul in Barcelona. It’s a place where I feel comfortable and can fit in quite easily. I’m very much into dancing and I’m learning Tango at the moment. 

2. What does inclusive practice mean to you? 
Making sure students with disabilities are helped and given the support they need to succeed in the regular classroom. The first step for me is to raise our student’s awareness of members of the community who encounter such difficulties. Then through this helping them to research and find out more about a particular aspect they are interested in.  

3. What is the first piece of advice you would give to a teacher who wants to better help their student(s) with SpLDs, but does not know where to begin?

Choose one area that you are interested in and search on the Internet for information and useful resources. Don’t be afraid to then try this out in your classroom. Once you’ve started with one area then others will follow. In my own experience I started with people with Tourette’s Syndrome after watching a documentary on the BBC. By searching I found a useful website with practical information and tips for teachers to use in the classroom.

4. What can people expect from your workshop/ panel discussion?
My workshop looks at helping students to ‘see the person and not the disability’. Over the years I’ve found a variety of online materials that I use in class to raise my students awareness of the successes people with disabilities have (without focusing too much on their disability); some of the areas we’ll look at include; blind and colour blind people, people with hearing problems, people with Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s Syndrome, the role of women in society and finally the issue of bullying.
In the panel discussion, I’ll be reiterating the workshop and relating it to my local context in Barcelona and in Spain and how the education system and society is dealing with some of these issues. 

5. What are you looking forward to from the conference?
Most of all meeting like-minded people and sharing and learning from each other. 

 

 

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