Thank Goodness! iTDi Has Turned the Lights ON!

In the past two years in which I’ve been on “blogosphere” and “twitterverse”, I’ve searched continually for mentions of special needs students in ELT.

I’ve found precious few mentions.

And it doesn’t make sense. They are out there. Why isn’t attention being paid to them?

Well, iTDi has stepped up and pointed a spotlight into the farthest corners of this void. Six writers from all over the world approach the issue from different aspects.

I’m a Special Ed teacher. I knew this issue would come out as I was asked to write one of the pieces. Yet I didn’t have a clue that I would be both surprised and moved by the other posts. I sincerely hope that teachers who read these posts will express an interest in special needs students, so that more relevant information will become readily available to them.

I sincerely hope that many other lamps will be lit to strengthen the spotlight  iTDi has aimed at the void, and that the topic of special needs learners will become part of every teacher’s toolkit.

You can find the Special Needs Issue at the iTDI Blog here.


5 thoughts on “Thank Goodness! iTDi Has Turned the Lights ON!”

  1. Yes, I’m glad to see you are joined by others with something to say on the needs of these special students. In my program, we are often suspicious that a few students are of special needs, but they are rarely diagnosed and so it remains speculation. We try to determine where the issue lies and work with it early enough that they are not doomed to failing the program, but it’s a continual challenge of guessing this and guessing that.

    1. Tyson,
      That is so sad to hear. I wish your university would send you to see how its done here. To the best of my knowledge every instution of higher education, universities and colleges, have a special office for students with special needs. There they get assistance from the admission process (accomodations on admission exams) and all the way through their studies.
      Obviously, raising awareness for English teachers isn’t enough, we have to get administrators to pay attention!

  2. Unfortunately, admissions has nothing to do with it. They have no way of knowing as they admit purely on high school grades. They don’t ever see the students themselves. Often the parents of these students (Chinese) don’t know either.

    As for those who regularly interact with the students themselves, we tell the students about the services available to them on campus. But we can’t hold their hand and take them there. They are legally adults and can make that choice themselves and more often than not, they won’t.

    1. Tyson,
      Thank you for explaining that to me. It isn’t a situation that I’m familiar with. Here many students (though not all!) take advantage of every service offered. Many have been diagnosed as children. I’m glad to hear that services are offered there too.
      I did have one adult student in his late forties that repeatedly told me how much he needed exams to be read to him. And I repeatedly told him to go the office and get the document that would enable me to give him recordings. He never went.

  3. Yes, this is the way it is. Keep in mind that all of these students apply to the university from overseas and academically in highschool have obviously been outstanding somehow. There is a disconnect between their high school grades in China and how they perform in English here. It’s not simply a matter of language.

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