• Date: 11th May 2017
  • Speakers: Varinder Unlu, Peter Lahiff
  • Time: 18:00 - 21:00 (BST)
  • Location: Dublin



Teaching Learners with Special Educational Needs: a practical, interactive session

The majority of our students learn English and other languages without too much difficulty, but there are many students who struggle and find it challenging.

There are many reasons for this, some of which can be identified quickly by teachers and they can help learners to acquire language more efficiently. However, there are learners who find language learning particularly difficult because their general approach to learning is different. These students get labelled as being difficult, disruptive, unresponsive or just bad language learners.

Many of our teacher training courses such as CELTA, Trinity TESOL or even the more advanced DELTA or Dip TESOL do not teach us how to deal with students who have Special Educational Needs (SEN). Yet around ten percent of our students have a special learning difference, which could be dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, Asperger’s syndrome, literacy problems or it could be a physical disability such as sight impairment or hearing problems.

Teachers need to have an understanding of students with learning differences and how these affect general learning processes and the mechanisms of second language acquisition. In this workshop I want to present a number of case studies of such students taken from my experience as a teacher, trainer and academic manager and highlight the importance of being able to recognise the signs of SENs.

The session will also give useful advice about how to deal with students with SENs and what teachers can do to help their students. By understanding this issue teachers can be more inclusive. We will share best practice and experience in terms of accurately identifying language learners’ additional needs and disseminate information about inclusive teaching methods, materials and resources for working with learners who have additional needs in the classroom.

Quest-ional Development – Bravely exploring the things that bother you.

Professional development can seem like box ticking obligation that is needed to satisfy institutional and regulatory requirements. This talk proposes that we look at it, instead, as a quest. One that calls teachers from their comfortable hobbit holes and away from second breakfast to tackle those questions that get brushed aside in the day to day of teaching.

Through stories of quests undertaken in the areas of engaging teenagers, teaching with technology, working with dyslexia in the classroom, this talk hopes to persuade you that to leave these questions examined and the underlying assumptions unchallenged, undermines the effectiveness of what we do. It also looks at how we ensure that this shall not pass.


Time Activity
18:00 – 18:30 Registration
18:30 – 19:30 Teaching Learners with Special Educational Needs: a practical, interactive session (Varinder Unlu)
19:45 – 20:30 Quest-ional Development – Bravely exploring the things that bother you. (Peter Lahiff)
20.30 - 20.45 Oxford Teachers' Academy (Richard Carr)
20:45 – 21:00 Raffle

Please note, this event takes place in Dublin, Ireland and is not an online event.


Varinder Unlu

Varinder Unlu has worked in ELT for 26 years in all contexts from private language schools to FE and HE, teaching students from 6-80 years old. She has been a DOS/Academic Manager since 2002. She is currently Academic Director at Bloomsbury International. She is also a teacher trainer for both Cambridge CELTA and Trinity TESOL. She is currently doing an MA TESOL. She is the coordinator of the Inclusive Practices and SENs IATEFL SIG.

Peter Lahiff

Peter Lahiff is an experienced teacher trainer, course designer, and academic manager. He has worked in English language teaching for over 15 years managing junior language programmes and has been designing and delivering teacher training since 2004.


11th May

Teachers' Club
36 Parnell Square W,
Dublin 1,

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