… and how are you? Hope you’re well. Busy, I imagine. I hope we can get you to Greece in the near future, for the Athens or Thessaloniki Conference.
Today, I would like to ‘talk’ to you about a campaign that I have been taking part in for over a year called the Disabled Access Friendly campaign. The campaign has really taken off in recent months. Amongst others we have the support of The British Council, the Hellenic American Union, City & Guilds, TESOL Greece, TESOL Macedonia-Thrace and PALSO (The Association of Private Language Schools, Greece). and the local ELT press. I’ve attached a full description of our aims to give you a clearer picture.
In a nutshell, we are making available online EFL teaching material that can be used in teaching and skills building as well as examination practice, but that will at the same time raise awareness about issues affecting people with physical disabilities, and we are confining ourselves to people with mobility problems i.e. difficulties in walking or in a wheelchair. As you can imagine, this material won’t fall from heaven, and this is why we are asking experienced teachers to do more than just say “Bravo” but to actively support us by kindly contributing something to our bank of teaching material.
You most certainly do not have to be a materials writer to contribute. We can all make use of our teaching or life experience to suggest ideas for a lesson or a particular text that could be used. Anyone can send in an idea, an outline, or material which they think would make a good lesson at any level and for any age group. Existing teaching material can even be adapted so as to be relevant to the aims of the campaign. You may know of some suitable text in literature around which a lesson could be based. What I want to say is that every little bit helps. On the campaign, I am working with an ELT colleague who uses a wheelchair, Paul Shaw, and others, and together we have produced some writers’ guidelines, which I have attached, together with a couple of example lessons for you to look at.
Our website will also have a section entitled “Tell Your Story”, where we will upload personal accounts from people’s experiences either with or as a person with mobility problems. Maybe at some time in your life you were touched by an issue to do with disability that you would like to give voice to, to help raise awareness.
I would also really appreciate it if you could spread the word amongst your friends and acquaintances involved in EFL, and I am sure you know quite a few. The more worksheets and material we collect, the greater the chance of changing even just one language learner’s attitude to people with disabilities. We hope it will snowball from there.
I hope very much that you will be able to do something, however small, to support this campaign. It would mean a lot to us. And me.
I look forward to hearing from you,