About ELT well
...supports teachers in their work with students who have learning difficulties or disabilities, ...is committed to providing practical, flexible and relevant professional development and advice for language teachers, ...offers fresh ways of approaching familiar teaching situations.
ELT well was set up and is run by me, Anne Margaret Smith. Here's a bit about me (in case you're curious):
I have been fortunate enough to have lived in Kenya, Germany, Sweden and the UK, to have worked in private schools, primary schools, colleges, universities, people's front rooms and all kinds of work places.
I have had the pleasure of working with multilingual children, disgruntled teenagers, emergency rescue teams, weary factory workers, eccentric senior citizens (including a real live duchess!) and culture-shocked asylum seekers. Some of them had sensory impairments, some were dyslexic, some had chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, and I learnt something from each of them.
I am currently working with dyslexic students at the University of Cumbria and I am an active member of the South Cumbria Dyslexia Association (SCuDA).
And the winner is.... dysTEFL!
The British Council have awarded an ELTon for Course Innovation to dysTEFL. Anne Margaret worked on this EU-funded project, which produced a free, online training course for English language teachers who want to know more about how to support their dyslexic learners. The materials are available from the website: www.dysTEFL.eu. The judges described the dysTEFL programme as "A much-needed course for teachers and one that addresses a gap in the market".
Although Anne Margaret and the whole dysTEFL team are delighted at winning this prestigious international award, it seems that the real winners are dyslexic learners across Europe whose teachers can now understand their difficulties and support them in their language learning.
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The dysTEFL teacher training materials are now available from the dysTEFL website. The on-line self-study course is absolutely free to access, and leads teachers through 10 units which cover issues such as understanding dyslexia and other SpLDs, the impact that SpLDs have on language learning, and techniques and strategies for making English more accessible to dyslexic learners.
An FE college became aware that many of their vocational students had English as an additional language, and they did not know whether their additional support needs were language based, or due to underlying cognitive differences. ELT well spent two days with the learning support team and the English language unit and helped them to develop assessment strategies that fitted into their exiting systems and enabled them to differentiate the support needed by these learners.
Along the way I have picked up the following qualifications:
- BA (Hons) in English Language and Linguistics (York University)
- Certificate in TEFLA (GlosCAT)
- MA Language Teaching / Language Studies (Lancaster University)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties (Edinburgh University)
- PGCE (Post-Compulsory Education) (University of Central Lancashire)
- PhD in Educational Research / Linguistics (Lancaster University)
My PhD combined my experience in English Language teaching and Learner Support and explored how the issue of inclusive education is addressed in teacher training and education for EFL teachers.
I think it is important for teachers to be on the other side of the desk from time to time, so that we remember how it feels. Language classes that I have been a student in include: Ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Luo, Maori, Swahili, Swedish and Polish. I hold qualifications in some of these languages, and sometimes even conversations!
Just for the record, I am a member of the following organisations:
- the British Dyslexia Association (Associate Member of the BDA),
- South Cumbria Dyslexia Association (SCuDA),
- the National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA),
- and the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (PATOSS).
I hold an Assessment Practising Certificate issued by PATOSS.