Advice for teaching English to children and teenagers with SLD. Start early and learn while having fun!
DSA and study of the English language. Start early and learn while having fun!
We asked Micaela Antognini, founder of a school in Milan that has been dealing with language training from preschool to university for more than thirty years, to tell us about her experience in teaching foreign languages, and in particular in English, to children and adolescents with SLD.
Micaela Antognini had a foreign language training and, also by virtue of her personal experience, she found a great resource in creativity combined with the teaching of a foreign language. For this reason, the method used in his school is also effective with children and young people with SLD, a subject on which there is more information today than thirty years ago, when the school started its activity. But what is the relationship of these students with foreign languages and especially with English?
Why do students with SLD find it so hard to study English?
"The phonetics of the English language is complex and not obvious". Spelling and sentence building are cornerstones of language learning, all of which can be tackled simply and through visualization techniques. The main mistakes that children and young people with SLD make are especially in reading and writing.
Do students with SLD have to be exempted from the Invalsi tests?
“.. Absolutely not, also because it would be detrimental. On the contrary, it is correct that – as offered by various foreign certification bodies – extra time is granted and slightly different tests are foreseen.
Are there more effective ways to overcome these difficulties?
"Teaching through visual means is the best way to facilitate the learning of a foreign language for these students, from an early age. The word is presented as an image and as such acquired by the student. To give a simple example, if we place the written word APPLE alongside the image of the APPLE, the assimilation is proposed visually, as if it were a photograph, not through reading and written reproduction. "
As educational tools, the chosen textbook should be integrated with flashcards, games, songs and nursery rhymes, and other similar material, facilitating the continuous repetition of words and structures, through different techniques and always bearing in mind that learning to be effective it must entertain, and that the child, and later the boy, must be led to love the foreign language, not to hate it as it is more difficult for him than for others.
It is also important to have experienced mother tongue or bilingual Italian teachers with excellent pronunciation, because children, especially when they are small, assimilate and do not forget the sound that is transmitted to them. In any case, experience teaches that "it is appropriate to update the classical method of teaching a foreign language with methodologies through which children and young people learn to speak by acquiring the basic vocabulary and linguistic structures in a natural way and not starting from the rule . "
What is your advice for students and their parents?
"It is essential to start early, without fear of overloading them with an extra commitment – rather to eliminate another one – and also making children aware of the importance of knowing another language, which will allow them to be more sociable and communicate with their peers. , in various situations, such as family holidays, or other experiences in which they will have the opportunity to confront. Parents should therefore not be afraid to add a commitment to their children's day by including the study of a foreign language in their educational program, because the sooner they start, the greater the result and the less the future commitment, as well as being an advantage – if small – at the level of school integration…. "
Redooc is also convinced of this, a digital teaching platform that has opened a section dedicated to English for Kindergarten and Primary School, full of narrated videos, cards and interactive exercises to learn English from an early age in a playful way. It is funny.
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