George Lucas Educational Foundation

A little support goes a long way

A little support goes a long way

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I have been endeavouring to engage my students in writing every day. For those of you who teach in a remote Indigenous context as I do you know how difficult this can be. Not only are our young students expected to write in a language that they only speak at school but they have physical limitations to manage such as hearing loss, cognitive delays and language processing issues. One tool that I use with my students is to ask them to make a voice recording of their writing for them to listen back to. It can be difficult to think of what you want to say, instantly translate it to English and then remember how to spell all of those words at the same time. Since introducing these supports I have seen my little boys who used to muck around and produce nothing during writing time change into industrious writers who are proud of their efforts.

Simple things can make all the difference to our students. When deciding how to help students it is important to provide the tools to help them increase their level of engagement, not simplify the task and rob them of the chance to perform to their full potential.

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

My son had hearing issues as a youngster, and it really impacted his language acquisition. Besides formal programs like Linda Mood Bell and Orton Gillingham, I found using audio books, from were a fantastic way to bridge the gap between where their reading levels were and their interest levels, while exposing them to new words and vocabulary at the same time. You could even have them do audio book reviews and post them on a wiki or blog so they can share them with each other if you have access to computers for them :)

Jocelyn Seamer's picture
Jocelyn Seamer
Transition to Year 2 teacher in remote Northern Territory Indigenous School

Thanks for your suggestion Whitney. We do have a listening post in the classroom with a limited range of books. Our new I-pads will make engaging students in this way a lot easier and less expensive. It is so important for our kids learning English to have the opportunity to hear modelled English as much as possible!

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