"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...

Last month I mentioned that the deaf are able to learn a foreign language provided that certain conditions are respected. I understand that there is an influence of L1 on L2, because taking off from the basis of the first language can help develop the second one through the inevitable comparison made by apprentices, which can also lead them to making mistakes that would not occur in the acquisition of the first language. In this context, the previous contact with other languages seems valid, especially if you are learning...

The task of teaching a foreign language (therefore, a third language) for the deaf seems to be a question that can be postponed. As we know, many difficulties have already been identified concerning the teaching of first and second languages. Nevertheless, the history of deaf education shows that in sixteenth-century Spain the monk Pedro Ponce de León taught four deaf noble children to speak Greek, Latin and Italian. Therefore, it's not difficult to imagine that this possibility may be repeated more often nowadays. We have more information, technologies and...

Good afternoon, readers! Starting today, I'll be posting about the inclusive teaching of English. I believe that, at first, an introduction to the topic is ‘conditio sine qua non’ for the progress of this column. The discussion around inclusion has been increasing in Brazilian society over the last decades, which demonstrates the controversy it causes if you look at the positions taken by different people.  But, what is inclusion? Before defining it, it is necessary to say that there has been a detachment, but not a detachment of the signifier...