Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who can integrate technology effectively in their pedagogical practices will replace teachers who can't. The quote above has been repeated time and again (with different wording each time) in education conferences where the focus is technology in education - so much so that it's hard to find the correct attribution to the original quote. But let's face the facts, shall we? It's now 2017 and there are two very distinct realities in the world today - those who are connected to the world wide...

Much is discussed about students with special needs and how to deal with them. Very little is said about teachers who have some kind of special need. I am going to tell you all a quick story. My story. During most my school life, I was not a bad student, but I was not good either. I was, well, average.  I was excellent once, in elementary school to be precise. I have fond recollections of having after-school classes with undergrad students in the afternoon, twice or three times a...

According to Mattar (2010), Prensky (2010) and Frei et al (2011), the use of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in different educational spaces has been helping the teaching of foreign languages since the 90s – when computers became more common in foreign language classes. In this regard, Paiva (2001) considers that ICTs bring advantages: variety of information, multimedia environment, the possibility of non-linear reading, diversity of material. When I conducted research that sought to verify the possibility of written fluency in the English language by the deaf, I came...

"Novices become acquainted with activities not only from their own and others' attempts to define what transpires in an activity, but also from how those participating in the activity respond to them." Elinor Ochs, in "Becoming a Speaker of A Culture." (2002) I have just read Elinor Ochs’ article entitled ‘Becoming a Speaker of a Culture,’ a contribution to the book ‘Language Acquisition and Language Socialization --- Ecological Perspectives,’ edited by Claire Kramsh (Continuum, 2002).  In her chapter, Elinor Ochs offers some very interesting insight into Second Language Acquisition theory. Elinor Ochs is an...

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Chinese Proverb This post is dedicated to all the caring and patient teachers out there who  help their students have meaningful experiences learning a second language regardless of any limitations they may have. This post is also dedicated to all the parents who have kindly shared their stories with me over these five years I’ve been involved with the Special Needs program in my language school. Parents-to-be often dream of well-behaved, talented, high-achieving children who say ‘please’ and make the...

Learning foreign languages is an exciting experience that not only develops students’ mind, skills and attitudes, but also offers possibilities of changing one’s entire life. In my career of teaching English at Elementary and Secondary Schools and language institutes in Brazil I would often encounter children with special needs among my class. I taught many children whose teachers had previously given up on them, who then became good learners, succeeding in class with understanding and excitement for learning. Students sense when their teacher loses confidence in them, especially if...

Teaching ADHD students can be a difficult task when teachers are not aware of some particularities.   ADHD children usually lack confidence. Therefore, they feel pleased when the teacher praises them. They also feel happy when their interests and abilities are acknowledged.   I read a paper in which Natalia Turketi mentioned that inattentive children would concentrate when she gave examples of some vocabulary related to the students while poiting at them.   The author also brought some suggestions to foster the language learning process of these students: Find a pattern. Make connections. Develop...

The word “dyslexia” comes from the Greek words “dys” (difficulty) and “lexia” (language), and is a language processing disorder that some people are born with.   Although learning a new language can be very difficult for people with dyslexia – especially in the written form – it does not mean they have to give up on it. In fact, it can be quite stressful for these learners to be introduced to new patterns, sounds and symbols when they have not had their difficulties sorted in their native language.   Gyorgi Gabor suggests that...

Last month, I brought the factors that are typical of many children with Down’s syndrome which facilitate and inhibit learing. In this context, it is important that we advance the discussion regarging second language learning. It is known by educators that children with Down's syndrome typically have a speech and language impairment. According to the Down's Syndrome Association and Down's Syndrome Scotland, it is the combination of a smaller mouth cavity and weaker mouth and tongue muscles that makes it harder for them to physically form words. The longer the...

According to the Scottish Down’s Syndrome Association, Down’s syndrome is the most common form of learning disability. It is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. Children with Down’s syndrome vary as widely in their development and progress as typically developing children. Regarding development, Vygotsky defined human beings as complex and multifaceted. In this context, we should not focus on whether a student has a disability or not. We all have different timings when it comes to developing. Although it is true that people with Down’s syndrome may take...