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Teaching English to Children with Special Educational Needs in Primary School

Teacher's Zone
Published by Anna Sawa in Dyslexia · 13 March 2021
Tags: methodologyspecial_needsarticles
Many educators wonder how to teach English to different types of special needs children in primary school. Particularly if there are many such as students in class. In this article you can find a list of some difficulties that special needs children struggle at school. As well as several teaching techniques which would help in teaching English to children with special educational needs in primary school.

Special educational needs in English language teaching

Characteristic of children with special educational needs
Different sorts of special educational needs are marked by various distinguishing characterictics. However there are some typical difficulties that special needs children have to contend with. Children with special educational needs mostly are featured by:

·       low perceptiveness,
·       short concentration span,
·       low motivation,
·       a slow work pace,
·       a low level of self-guided learning,
·       difficulties with understanding and following instructions,
·       poor spatial awareness,
·       difficulties with abstract and conceptual thinking,
·       poor graphomotor and handwriting skills,
·       low visual and auditory perception,
·       low self-esteem.

Tips for English language teaching to children with special educational needs

Children with special educational needs in English classroom

1.    Setting goals
At the beginnig of each lesson students need to get to know what is purpose of the lesson. It helps students to pay attention to the most important learning aspects.

2.    Repetition
Each lesson should be started with short revision what children have been learnt at the last lesson. What is more, it is necessery to come back ocassionally to earlier introduced material at the opportunity of connected topics.

3.    Additional time
Children with special educational needs often need some extra time to finish the task. To avoid unnecessery stress or strain, they should work in their own pace. From time to time they also need a short break to get energy to keep learning.

4.    Multisensory aproach
As special needs children can be easily distracted and they have difficulties with abstract thinking. It seems to be sensible to gather their attention on visuals such as flashcards or posters. Bringing realia or using TPR activities during English language teaching would be useful as well. More senses they use more they learn.

5.    Information highlightening
Special needs children have difficulties with distinguishing between key information and less important aspects. That is why, it is worth making an effort and repeat crucial issues and concepts. Encourage students to highlight the most important information in their notes and give them some tips how to do that.

6.    Formative assessment
Istead of traditional marking strategies much better is assessment for learning. Giving feedback, what special needs students have already learnt and what they have to work on, is much more meaningful for them. It also motivate to go on learning.

7.    Inforamtive instructions
Long and complicated instructions get children with special educational needs confused. They should be as short, informative and clear as possible.

All these tips presented above are apropriate not only for children with special educational needs but also for those who do not require additional attention. That is why it is worth considernig them when planning lessons. The teaching techniques mentioned in this article may help all your students learn more effectively.

Leave a comment if you find these teaching tips useful.
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