Research File

Topics: English language, United States, United Kingdom Pages: 11 (2726 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Away Topics
English Language Learners with Disabilities Issue
Table of Contents
Student Perspectives on English Language Learning
Editor’s Corner
Featured Person – Taufiq Effendi
Types of English Language Learning
U.S. Department of State Promotes Inclusion
Universal Design in the Language Classroom
Four Fast Facts for ESL Administrators
From the Field
Publisher’s Notes

Student Perspectives on English Language Learning

What motivates people with disabilities to learn English? The reasons vary, but are the same for people without disabilities. Young people, watching relatives return from study abroad, see English as their ticket to the same overseas dreams or an international career. Others, like Angela Marin Rivera, who is blind, know the value of learning English for employability. “I liked English, so I registered at the Peruvian North American Institute where I learned a lot. Then I entered university to study translation, and I successfully finished and started my career.”

What helps with learning English? Accommodations in English language classrooms can vary. Rosa Romia Pastor, a wheelchair user in Spain, enrolled in an English academy and requested and received a ramped entrance to the building. In Peru, however, classroom materials were not available in an accessible format for Rivera. “For the exams I talked to the director and teachers so most of the time I had a reader and I gave my answers to them; I also asked them to explain to me when they used the blackboard. I tried to interact with my classmates as much as possible and sometimes I worked in groups with them.”

Josephine Kalunda Kakoma from Kenya, who took courses at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon, recalls, “In the classroom we were two Deaf ladies from different countries with different sign languages, and our interpreters used American Sign Language (ASL). For us to understand each other for the first few days was not very easy.”

Improving one’s English can require hard work but most agree that it is well worth the effort. As Kakoma, who leads a Deaf women’s organization, reveals, “The benefits I gained are remarkable because in my line of duties I do interact with people who speak or write English. I can now comfortably visit certain offices in my country without sign language interpreters, who are rare and expensive. I have a plan to pursue my education locally or overseas and I feel my English course will be an added advantage.”

To read other stories by English language learners with disabilities go to: www.miusa.org/ncde/stories[->0]

Editor’s Corner

Knowledge of English can be beneficial to individuals all over the world – whether to access information on the Internet, participate in an international conference, or apply for scholarships to study in the United States.

English language courses, however, are not always as equally available or effectively taught to students with disabilities. This can be due to:

·Children with disabilities having less access to school and extracurricular activities than non-disabled children.

·English courses for students with disabilities being replaced by disability-specific skill building, such as learning to use Braille, physical therapy, etc.

·Lack of training or resources for teachers to fully include and accommodate students with disabilities in English courses. Many of these obstacles can be addressed by sharing best practices. Providing equal access to learning entails outreaching to underrepresented groups, believing that all students can learn, and embracing the idea that accessing English should be available to all.

Cerise Roth-Vinson, Chief Operating Officer,
Mobility International USA

Featured Person – Taufiq Effendi

Home Country:
Indonesia

Disability:
Blind

What are your earliest memories of learning English?

I started learning English by watching American films on TV and by listening to music. It...
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