THE DISABLED ACCESS FRIENDLY CAMPAIGN
Disabled Access Friendly provides ELT teachers with a large bank of free, downloadable, stand-alone lessons covering all learner levels and age ranges in a wide variety of forms. These resources are unique because besides focusing on linguistic aims, thematically, they focus exclusively on raising awareness about mobility disability.
Teachers, as true educators, can supplement any syllabus and thereby disseminate insight and information thus building pathways for caring and action. This innovative approach of embracing social improvement through ELT addresses a difficult reality and develops learners’ critical thinking while stimulating exploration of their own and others’ attitudes towards disability
Teachers are in a prime position to enlighten the younger generation. Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and the teaching of EFL can be a powerful and important vehicle for raising awareness about social issues. However within the confines of the syllabus and the exams it can sometimes be difficult to find appropriate material that allows you to do this. This is where the Disabled Access Friendly campaign’s free EFL teaching resources can help.
The best foreign language centres and schools already extend the work they do in language teaching to raise pupils’ awareness of the society in which they live and try and make it a better place. This awareness of the world in which we live and the belief that through their own actions students have the ability to make improvements, lie at the heart of education. People with mobility disability are currently disabled more by infrastructure, and other people and their attitudes than by their own physical situation. By providing children with the information necessary to allow them to put themselves in other people’s shoes, to understand others and to feel what others, we hope to pave the way to positive changes being made.
ORGANISATION AND EXPERTISE
We are a team of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds, offering support in various ways. Our “ambassadors” promote our work at ELT events worldwide and friends of the campaign spread the word through online networking. Professional ELT writers have come together to voluntarily contribute specially designed material.
Although based in Greece, the project is equally accessible by and relevant to EFL teachers worldwide, as it is not culturally bound. It is internet based, uses the English language, and the teaching material provided has no expiry date and can be used over and over again for new classes of students.
INNOVATIVE TEACHING MATERIAL
The Disabled Access Friendly campaign uses a new and innovative approach, where all the resources (worksheets, reading texts and video clips) are on a single topic, and the overlying aim is to raise awareness about mobility disability. This is done through teaching English.
The campaign’s material avoids facing the topic of mobility disability head on, but rather goes through the “back door”, lowering the students’ filters by firstly appealing to them on some other level.
PRACTICAL FOR BUSY TEACHERS
All the material can be downloaded for free from a site where no registration process is required. It is printable and, depending on teachers’ needs, can be used as supplementary material in the classroom or on a one-to-one basis, for examination practice and project or group work.
The worksheets are easy to browse and come with teacher’s notes and a key. They are categorized by level and key information on grammar, vocabulary, functions and skills, which can all be seen at a glance. Any video clips used can be played without internet access in the classroom. The worksheets are easy to implement and preparation time and materials needed are kept to a minimum. Teachers will not have to spend time researching mobility disability or finding and preparing suitable material, as they can find everything ready-made on one site.
EFFECTIVE FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
When ELT is used for social improvement, teachers become true educators. Education is not just about acquiring skills and academic knowledge; it embraces respect for others, the promotion of well-being, fairness and equality. When teaching material enables a teacher to draw attention to something socially meaningful, and deal with topics more substantial than holidays, pets and sports, the teacher can make lessons truly worthwhile. The teacher will be using the ELT classroom to change the world for the better. They will thus be motivated and their enthusiasm and commitment will lead to better teaching.
When ELT material helps students to gain an awareness of the world in which they live and encourages them to take responsibility, think and question what they see and hear; they are motivated. Motivated students actively seek the language and vocabulary they need to be able to express themselves. This makes for an enriched learning experience and students will leave the classroom feeling they have learned something more than just a foreign/second language.
SUMMARY EXAMPLE OF MATERIAL AT A2 LEVEL
Anna’s New Job
• Read about Anna, a wheelchair user, and her new job
• Students comment on statements like “She won’t be able to work fast” and “She will probably have a lot of time off sick”.
• Students decide which questions are appropriate to ask Anna like “Where do you live?” and “Why are you in a wheelchair?”
As well as practising tenses, giving personal information and asking simple questions, you have stimulated students to think about attitudes towards people with mobility disability and to question stereotypes.
SUMMARY EXAMPLE OF MATERIAL AT B2 LEVEL
An accessible kitchen
• Show a picture of a kitchen and teach the vocabulary
• Ask if it would be easy for a wheelchair user to use the kitchen
• Elicit sentences such as “the cupboards are too high”
• Move on to “if the cupboards were lower, he would be able to reach”
As well as practising the 2nd conditional, you have stimulated students to think about practical issues affecting people with mobility disability.
SUMMARY EXAMPLE OF MATERIAL AT C2 LEVEL
• Gap fill exercise for a text about “people first language” (e.g. “a person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person”)
• Critical thinking exercise based on a text about wheelchair etiquette
• Watch Disabled Access Friendly’s humorous video clip in light of the above two points
• Grammar exercises based on a text considering the meaning of political correctness
As well as practising various skills, you have stimulated students to consider abstract issues related to issues of mobility disability.