PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES
PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
LEARNERS IN PRISON
PEOPLE LIVING IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
YOUNG PEOPLE OVERCOMING DISADVANTAGE
PEOPLE SEEKING EMPLOYMENT
ANGOULEME, IME Soyaux: children with learning difficulties
IME Soyaux is a centre which receives children from 7 to 21 with learning difficulties, including those with Down’s syndrome and autism. The centre has a team of specialised youth workers, teachers, psychologists and speech therapists. In this school the young people receive teaching adapted to their needs.
M-CV, carried out the co-ordination between the Allegro project and the special school through meetings with the director, the psychologist, the clinical director and the trainer. It was decided to have one 50-minute session per week, followed by an appraisal with the psychologist, in order to note the positive or negative effects of the workshop on the young people.
Spanish was chosen because of its current popularity and the availability of a suitable teacher, CL, who has had experience of working with young people and gets on well with them. He is a teacher in a vocational college for young people aged 15 to 18. A group of 8 children between 12 and 15 was formed by the school psychologist, in order to have quite a heterogeneous mixture, in terms of disability and what the workshop could give the children.
CL ran the language workshop in constant collaboration with the psychologist who monitored the children during the workshop.
DATE and PLACE
The workshop was held from March 2004 to July 2004 in the games room at the school.
The pedagogic objective was to introduce a foreign language to young children who were not even aware that other languages exist. The aim of the workshop was also to raise the children's esteem by making them aware of their ability to learn a foreign language.
The teaching method used was based on phonic repetition through exchange games on the theme of questions and answers (¿Cuántos años tienes ?, ¿Cómo te llamas ?, etc.) with an object acting as a baton for the handover between the question and the answer. This object enables the game to be ritualised and gives language learning a more ’fun’ aspect.
The following teaching aids were used :
- dice for learning numbers and to reinforce their knowledge of simple sums (addition, subtraction).
- the UNO card game in order to work on numbers and colours while playing a familiar game.
- colouring the flags of the European Union in order to learn the geography and the names of the countries, followed by a flag quiz.
- preparation of the school's end-of-year fête where the parents would be able to see the work done by the children, thereby raising the children's esteem in their parents' eyes. Preparation of the Allegro stall with the creation of the Spanish flag on which the children stuck drawings made by them along with the words learnt in the workshop.
The children learned how to say who they are and to ask the others to present themselves. They also learned the vocabulary of the colours, the countries and figures (up to 20). They could use the usual social terms (greeting, thanking, etc.)
What went well :
• the games, the oral situations, and exchanges between participants.
• the contact between the trainer and the young people.
• the friendly nature of the group
• the children's interest in a new language and a new culture
• the collaboration between the trainer and the psychologist in order
to determine the repercussions of the workshop on the young people, which were not very obvious for the trainer who is not accustomed to being in close contact with this type of disability.
• The importance of this workshop for the children. It became their Tuesday morning rendezvous. The children even stole from the other children work which they had missed the previous session.
• The parents of one child went over the work at home in the evening so that he could learn better and reduce the gap between him and a young person of his age.
What did not go well :
• mood could change from moment to the next; they might be doing a series of numbers and suddenly decide that they do not want to play any more.
• It was sometimes difficult for someone who was not a specialist teacher in this field to know how to deal with a child's agitation in the group as they did not all have the same disability: for example, when F, who is autistic, banged his hands on the table it was because of his disability, whereas if N did the same thing, he was doing it to disrupt the workshop. One particular action often required different responses.