Special Needs in EFL: Dyslexia Support – Blurb 2Abiodun Abdul
Upon starting at HCT, I was assigned to the pre-foundation class with characteristically low-level students with poor study skills and an inability to focus on/follow a lesson which lead to disruptive behavior. But what was more intriguing was that many students did indeed have the desire to study, but were unable to access the lesson material in the conventional methods being employed in the classroom. This was discerned not just by myself but the co-teacher in that level. And upon reflection, I recognized that many of the students were displaying traits of dyslexia and instantly put my previous special needs training in this area to use which helped the students. So my co-teacher and various other faculty voiced an interest in how to support their dyslexic students as they are currently unaware of what strategies to employ with them.
As such, I decided to reproduce my training and offer my expertise in dyslexia support to my HCT colleagues through facilitating a workshop for any staff who would be interested to participate. Note, there is an added strength to have the workshop facilitator be an English Language Teacher because, in addition to theories, I can share my practical teaching experience on this subject. The workshop is advantageous for instructors with students of all ESL levels, but especially lower level students as the teaching strategies discussed overlap in facilitating the learning of beginner to pre-intermediate able-learning students as well. In this way it was doubly beneficial. Also note that this training session will focus on academic support for dyslexia rather than the diagnostic assessment for this learning disability.
This 6-hour workshop with lots of interactive activities will provide insight into the following topics:
2) What are the causes of dyslexia?
3) What challenges do dyslexic students/people face?
4) What can teachers do to support their students?
5) Where else can we get support for dyslexic students?
The workshop will describe exactly what dyslexia is and the causes of it. It will take participants through the challenges dyslexic students face in areas of both knowledge acquisition and behavioural management. Participants will then learn what teaching strategies they can employ that addresses both the strength and weaknesses of their dyslexic students as well as other mixed-ability learners. Note the workshop itself is designed to model the very strategies that will be covered. At the end, I will provide time for participants to share any teaching strategies they employ in their ESL classrooms for supporting dyslexic students.
Note this training session is not only restricted to teachers/lecturers both in Foundations and Content courses. It is also beneficial to a whole range of staff including Counsellors (who deal with special needs); Librarians and Learning Support Tutors in Student Success Centres and also Admin Staff who schedule classes and timetable exams. As such, it is open to everyone and has already been successfully run select HCT counsellors, librarians and SSCE tutors participating and been booked for the Rising Sun School for special needs children in Fujairah. It is also being made available to staff at the UAE’s other two federal institutions of education in Zayed University and UAEU.
There was also a taster session at TESOL Arabia 2015 which led to requests for the workshop to run with their staff from various institutions, including The University of Qatar and the Military Technological College in Oman. This same taster session will be run at the HCT Foundations PD Day on Monday 6th April. Do drop by and if you believe the staff on your campus will benefit from the dyslexia support workshop, then do contact me. We can then arrange a date for a session to be run at your campus.
Abiodun ‘Abbey’ Abdul
English Language Teacher
Dyslexia Support Tutor
HCT Foundations Programme
Fujairah Women’s College
P.O. Box 1626, Fujairah,
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 (0)9 201 1526