Read 703 times

  • lelsasser
  • Veteran

    • 108

    • October 02, 2016, 04:33:26 pm
    • Suwon, South Korea
Learning Disabilities in the Classroom
« on: April 10, 2018, 02:39:47 pm »
Hello everyone :)
So currently, I am teaching at a public elementary school (Grades 3-6) in an area that is known for being 'poorer' and having a lot of difficult kids (it is not unheard of for my Grade 6 classes to get into fist fights during class). There are definitely many difficult days but despite that, I really love my students. I really want to help my students along with improving being an effective teacher. In lieu of that, I really want to address learning disabilities in the classroom. I know in Korea many children are never diagnosed due to a stigma around mental illnesses/disabilities. I know I have several children who have ADHD along with a few kids who seem to have autism (it is hard to say though since they have never been diagnosed). Some of these cases I realize may also be because of home life not being that great/nurturing. So, I was interested to hear what advice people could give in these situations. I have read numerous articles but most don't address the ESL situation (language barrier/not being their homeroom teacher).
Any thoughts/suggestions?


  • s_y_pun
  • Waygookin

    • 13

    • March 16, 2014, 02:48:17 pm
    • Busan
Re: Learning Disabilities in the Classroom
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2018, 06:40:42 pm »
This is such a huge topic that you will probably need some training.

In my experience, Korean public schools normally have a specialist teacher specialising in Special Educational Needs that these students go to at least once a week. Try speaking to your co-t first, she/he might actually know about these students' background and the help they're currently getting. If they're undiagnosed, try to get them a diagnosis.

The British Council has an online course for EFL teachers, which you might want to look into.
https://www.britishcouncil.org.tr/en/teach/online-courses/special-educational-needs


  • lelsasser
  • Veteran

    • 108

    • October 02, 2016, 04:33:26 pm
    • Suwon, South Korea
Re: Learning Disabilities in the Classroom
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 08:02:59 am »

The disruptive ADD/ADHD are more difficult and what I've found is that it can just be a phase.  You can discuss with other teachers about it, but ordering some kind of test to check would be nigh on impossible.  I had a sixth grader a few years back and he was attention-seeking but also aggressive, both verbally and physically with other students.  I'd reckon that he had a particularly difficult home life, and that was being brought into the classroom.  It doesn't really help you.  You could try to spend time with the students outside of class and see how they are.  Some may be into football, cards, or something else.  I'd do this a lot, so some of most disruptive students would see you a something different to a teacher.  An adult with a positive influence.  In class, I'd still have to show 'tough love' when they acted up, but over time they slowly come around.  Still punish the bad behaviour, but make sure to praise the good behaviour.  Sometimes students here never hear a 'well done' from an adult, so to do that can mean a lot.
 This is the long game and takes more effort and patience but it helps you develop as a teacher if you can micro-manage these little challenges.

Yes, I can totally understand your sixth grader situation. I have a few students like that. There have been physical fights that have happened in my class (and other subject classes too, not just English). There are some students I am pretty sure have some sort of disability/disease but I have no idea what it is. I learned one of my students has a disease where he cannot control his anger... it got pretty scary one time. It took three people to hold him down so he didn't attack another kid. I think a lot of my students' behaviour though does come from their home life. Sometimes I know all I am really able to do is to praise them when they do well, 'discipline' them when needed. I am usually pretty friendly with all of my students and some hang out in the English classroom during break time. I think (highlight on the think, haha) most students respect me/like me, but it is definitely a tough environment to teach in. Crazy thing is, I still love these students despite everything and I am thinking of signing a contract for another year. 
I do try my best and I think it will help me to grow as teacher professionally as well. I am just wondering if there are specific techniques (especially in an EFL classroom) to help these type of students in a larger classroom (especially ADD/ADHD)

Unfortunately, s_y_pun, my school, I believe, doesn't have a Special Education Needs teacher, which is something I think my school could really use. I think we have a fair bit of students who could use a teacher like that. Also, thanks for the British Council link, I think I will look into that!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 02:10:57 pm by lelsasser »