FOCUS: Creating inclusive foreign language classrooms

One of the biggest problems foreign language teachers face today is the barriers learning difficulties set. Along with the issues the children have to be helped to deal with, we must take into consideration how classrooms can easily be unintentionally divided according to skill, and therefore, create chaotic environments difficult to control and hence educate. However, experts insist that inclusive education is the key. Consequently, our project, FOCUS, has its eyes set on creating inclusive foreign language classrooms for the benefit of everyone involved.

Why choose inclusion, though, when it’s much easier to separate pupils with difficulties into their own little group? The answer lies on the benefits that not only those pupils reap, but typically developing pupils as well. Here’s a succinct list:

  • Pupils learn to respect one another and not judge based on ability.
  • Pupils get to learn from each other since there are diverse interactions.
  • Support is provided to ALL students.
  • Co-operation and friendship are enhanced as they are key values.
  • A more overall positive school environment is created without exclusions.

FOCUS, with all these advantages in mind, aims to help foreign language teachers create an inclusive classroom, regardless of ability. How is this going to be achieved, though? All of FOCUS partners are currently working towards building an informative website, full of resources, readily available to every foreign language teacher.

Firstly, we are to create an online database with useful methods and best practices. Teachers will be able look through a variety of researched material and opt for the ones that suit their classroom’s needs best. Secondly, we are going to launch educational computer games for classroom use. In that way, we encourage a game-based learning method which is instructional as well as fun and it involves all students. And thirdly, we are going to provide an online training course for stakeholders. With the focus on inclusivity, our project intents to reskill and upskill foreign language teachers in teaching pupils with learning difficulties between the ages of 6 and 12. Any teacher interested will have all the information available with the click of a button.

All potential problems within a classroom can be solved by its educators provided they are equipped to do so. Through providing help to foreign language teachers, our project, FOCUS, attempts to limit, and why not eliminate, all those issues that arise when teaching learners with difficulties. FOCUS is designed to encourage inclusive environments while at the same time help young learners attain the goal of foreign language learning.

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