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Advice needed for SEN programme in Myanmar school

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by simon43, May 27, 2017.

  1. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    I work at a private school in the country of Myanmar. I am a phonics specialist/EFL teacher for the younger grades (pre-school, KG and lower primary). My students are primarily local children, who start to learn English as a foreign language in their pre-school.

    Over the years, I have also had an interest in teaching students with SEN, and have completed SEN and speech therapy CPD courses provided by the British Council, in an effort to improve my knowledge of SEN issues, and how best to help students who have a SEN. I already have experience of teaching young students with ADHD.

    I'm not a SEN teacher, but I'm the best (and only) option for the SEN children at my school. No other teacher or staff at the school has even the slightest knowledge about SEN issues, and due to the issue of 'loss of face', the child's parents will probably refuse to accept that their child has a SEN. There is currently no provision or programme for SEN students and no effort to identify students who may need extra help or accommodations. But the school principal and local teachers sincerely want to help these students and all are looking to me for recommendations and support.

    I only teach listening and speaking skills, so am not really aware of students who may be dyslexic. But at a recent SEN workshop that I presented for the local staff, several of them indicated that they knew of students who might be dyslexic, (research stats for the number of students with Dyslexia indicate that there must be several dozen students at the school who have some level of Dyslexia, and who are not getting any assistance from either the teachers or their parents to overcome these SEN issues).

    I have recently introduced the Jolly Phonics programme into the school, and this has been very well received by teachers, students and parents.

    What I want to introduce next is a structured programme to assist students who might have ADHD or Dyslexia, (or any other SEN such as Dyspraxia, Dysgraphica etc, (It is not much use to identify these students and then do nothing to help them minimise their SEN).

    Can forum members give me advice about the framework of such a programme, or links to where I can get further information? Ideally, I'm looking for a step-by-step, structured programme that can be provided for each SEN student (obviously, the goals will be different according to the SEN).

    I very much want to help these SEN students at my school and I appreciate any advice from the forum members.
    Dodros likes this.
  2. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    It sounds as though you are already being very proactive in assisting not only your students with potential learning difficulties but also your teaching colleagues without an established system for the identification and support of SEN. It's not the first time I have heard about the impact of "loss of face" and other cultural factors raising barriers to SEN recognition and provision and there may be mileage in working to change attitudes by emphasising the "learning difference" rather than the "learning deficit" model with students in difficulty. In other words, students with identified weaknesses will normally have compensating strengths that enable them to work around their difficulties if they cannot rise above them. One of the students at my British secondary school achieved the best exam results in her year at GCSE but when she left and went to the local sixth form college she was diagnosed as having dyslexia; until the age of 16 she had simply "overachieved" by using coping strategies and working hard before finally reaching a temporary ceiling in her later teens. I am confident she will have breached that ceiling and fulfilled his learning potential. The image of all children with SEN being slow and dull persists but it is at odds with the realities of school life.

    My website at http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com focuses particularly on the implications of SEN for modern foreign language learning, including EFL. At http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/home/languages I have twenty case studies of modern foreign language learners with additional needs, which might be suitable for teacher training and which come with suggestions for further reading. I maintain a bibliography of modern foreign languages and special educational needs at http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/home/inclusion with over 2000 references; the direct link to the folder containing the Word file is https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bw7z_4bLjOOEYXJxUnhSd0VJUFE and the largest section is dedicated to foreign language learners with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia).
  3. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    David, thanks very much for your reply and links to your resource website - I'm sure that I will find useful information there.

    I'm fortunate in that I previously had a long career in writing software, and therefore write interactive learning applications according to the syllabus objectives that I run on my laptop in each lesson.

    I only get a couple of minutes per lesson for individual interaction with each student, but my laptop application records the video and audio when I ask a student a question in English, and their response to that question. After each lesson, I can quickly review each video clip and identify those students who have comprehension and/or pronunciation issues, add my comments to the video, and then upload it to my server to allow the child's parents to log in, view the video and my comments, and add their own feedback.

    I am trialing this app, and will make it available to the local teaching staff if it proves useful.

    I will investigate as to how computer apps can be used to assist Dyslexic students, and see what I can develop for my classes.
    Dodros likes this.
  4. I work in a school in the middle east with a similar situation. We use Read Write Inc phonics, which I think is superior to Jolly Phonics in some ways (although I love JP and used it with my own kids) because it uses picture mnemonics and flashcards that make learning letters a bit more quick and efficient. It works with 90% of students, even the slowest learners - but not the few students I have who are severely dyslexic and really need more multisensory elements. I want to find a curriculum that assesses them and places them within a completely laid out, structured, multisensory, comprehensive (including comprehension, composition) literacy program.

    From what I've been researching, I think Dyslexia Action's DALP program is what I want, but it seems that you can't just buy it - you have to take their online courses for several months before you begin to learn to use it: http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/files/dyslexiaaction/faq_dalp_july_2016.pdf

    I'd love to hear other suggestions as well.
  5. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm Head of Curriculum Support at an international school in Malaysia. When I arrived there was nothing in the way of SEN provision and it has been a fight to get to where we are now. Loss of face is a big thing, not just for the parents and students, but also for the teachers - a lot of them feel that I am criticising their teaching ability when I look into a child's needs, as if I am suggesting they haven't done their job properly.

    I have been using the LASS computer based assessments to screen for dyslexia, as they very clearly show areas of weakness, which you can then work on. We also use reading age tests to determine if there is a significant discrepancy in ability.

    One online program that I have found particularly useful for younger learners is Nessy, which is a dyslexia screening and intervention program. @simon43 I suggest you look into that for a starting point.

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