Inclusive Education in ELT – Education for All

Education should be inclusive at all levels and ensure the access of disabled children and teenagers to the same general education offered to all.
Inclusive Education means all students can fully participate in any mainstream school, college or university. It is a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners.
Since English is being taught in most schools and universities, it is crucial to know what inclusive Education implies and how we, English teachers, can create meaningful learning experiences for all.

Talk given at #LABCI2015


Inclusive Education

Education should be inclusive at all levels and ensure the access of disabled children and teenagers to the same general education offered to all. Their right to equal educational opportunities is our obligation as educators.

At the IATEFL Annual Conference in Manchester, I’ll be talking about what it implies and how we, English teachers, can create meaningful learning experiences for all.

(conference programme – my talk: Monday 13 April at 17:25 – Manchester Central – Central 5)

Many of us, educators, believe in inclusive education. However, it is very important to know what it really means and what it implies.
Despite the fact that this believe has been around for many years, facts and figures show that there is still much to be done.

Once we know, we need to have or develop the necessary skills and strategies in order to be able to implement it successfully at different levels.

  • Society – a change in mindset
  • Educational institution – a change in paradigm – an inclusive education project
  • Classroom – skills and strategies to turn this project into a reality

In this talk I will:

  • explain the global situation regarding inclusion in education and what the UN CONVENTION on the RIGHTS of PERSONS with DISABILITIES states
  • discuss the concept of inclusive education, its truly meaning, what it is and what it is not
  • explain what it is needed to be able to implement it
  • give some practical ideas on how we can design our programmes and plan our classes
  • go over some stories of success

The main objectives of this talk are to clarify the concept and hopefully help director of studies, teachers and all educational stakeholder overcome their fears by showing different ways of implementing it and sharing stories of success.

TEDx Ed Talk in Montevideo, Uruguay

subtitles in English will be added to the recording

Photography exhibition to promote the social inclusion of people with the Down Syndrome.


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TEDxEd Montevideo TEDx Event about Education in Montevideo, Uruguay

“Ceibal en Inglés” at the IATEFL Annual Conference

Technology and its use in education and English teaching, was one of the main topics at the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate (April 2014).

One of the topics discussed was the Ceibal in Inglés project. You can read my previous post about it here.

Nik Peachey interviewed me about this project (min 4:00)


Paul Woods, English Adviser at British Council/Plan Ceibal, delivered a talk explaining how Ceibal in Ingles works.

He talked about how the project is organized and shared some results from the first phase of its implementation.


I talked about coordinating a team of teachers in this project.



CEIBAL EN INGLÉS – a challenging and innovative English project in Uruguay

CEIBAL EN INGLÉS – a challenging and innovative English project in Uruguay

Ceibal en Inglés” is an initiative that is being implemented in Uruguay to teach English to state school kids. In this project lessons are delivered by an English teacher via videoconferencing together with the school teacher who is physically present in the classroom.

After the successful implementation of a pilot phase between June and November 2102, it expanded to 1,000 classes a week in 2013.

Now, Ceibal in Inglés is being implemented in almost 2,000 groups of different state schools throughout the country.

Rob Lewis, who manages the TeachingEnglish site, interviewed Graham Stanley, the British Council project Manger of Ceibal en Inglés in October. You can listen to it here.

Graham Stanley has been blogging about the Ceibal en Inglés project.  You can read his posts here

Jeremy Harmer visited Uruguay in August 2013 and attended a lesson of Ceibal en Inglés. He wrote a blog post about it encouraging the online readers to give their opinions and comment on it. Many interesting things were mentioned there, you can read the thread here.

Magdalena saludando

As English teachers we all hold beliefs regarding teaching and learning, the role of the teacher, the role of the learners and the role of the materials. We believe a successful teaching – learning experience requires certain ingredients. According to those beliefs we plan, we deliver, we evaluate.

What happens when we move away from the “traditional” teaching context? What changes? What remains the same? Are those beliefs still valid?

All stakeholders involved know there is still a lot to learn and to improve. However, we know, there are some crucial elements for the success of this project. Team – teaching is one; how technology is used is another one.

I have been coordinating a team of “remote” English teachers. Based on this experience, I will be delivering a talk at the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate. I will be sharing some ideas, some reflections and some questions regarding what ingredients are key for the success of this team teaching in a blended learning environment.

So, if you’re interested in the topic, you can join me on 3rd April at 12:15 in the King’s B Room of the Harrogate International Conference Centre.

Paul Woods, English Adviser from the British Council in Uruguay, will describe the main elements of the project, key issues and report on recent test results on 3rd April at 11:30 in the King’s B Room.

If you have any questions or issues you would like me to address, feel free to post your questions here.

Looking forward to seeing you in Harrogate!

Conference Programme

Conference Mobile Application

Spoken Fluency

Spoken Fluency

We all know how important English is nowadays. In order to function effectively in the global economy, non-native English speakers must be able to communicate, collaborate and operate successfully in the global lingua franca—English.

Here you can find an article about how companies are using English nowadays

For most of our business English students, the idea of “knowing” a language means being able to converse in that language. It is safe to presume that for most of them speaking is the most highly valued skill. They need to be able to interact in English, spoken interaction is vital.

In interactive activities participants act as speakers and listeners with one or more interlocutors and together they construct, through the negotiation of meaning following the co-operative principle, conversational discourse.

Reception and production strategies are employed constantly during interaction.

There are discourse strategies and co-operation strategies, concerned with managing interaction such as turn-taking and turn-giving, framing the issue and establishing a line of approach, proposing and evaluating solutions, recapping and summarising the point reached, and mediating in a conflict.

“Most researchers agree that fluency in speaking involves smooth, automatic production. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency in dialogue also involves attention to the linking of speaking turns to create mutual ‘flow’. “

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael McCarthy’s current research involves the creation and analysis of spoken learner corpora in connection with the English Profile project, with special reference to the development of spoken fluency. He is co director (with Ronald Carter) of the 5-million word CANCODE spoken English corpus project, and the one-million word CANBEC spoken business English corpus.

A full list of Mike McCarthy’s publications is available here

He is delivering a webinar for IATEFL on Saturday 22 February 2014, at 3:00 GMT. You can check your local time here

‘Spoken fluency revisited’

Teaching and assessment systems typically consider fluency in speaking to be one of the factors that determine a learner’s competence and level, especially at higher levels.

Furthermore, examination systems, alongside level descriptors in systems such as the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), frequently mention fluency in speaking and attempt to define it and set tasks to assess it. Most researchers agree that it involves smooth, unhesitant production, and that being able to produce language automatically is a key element in being fluent. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency also involves a repertoire of interactive items, and attention to linking what you say to what other speakers say in dialogue to create a kind of mutual ‘flow’. How do we achieve this sense of interactive flow, and what sorts of things do learners need to master to achieve smooth dialogue? This talk reports on corpus research for the English Profile, an interdisciplinary research project aimed at a better understanding of what earners know and can do at different levels in English. The English Profile considers the interactive dimension of fluency to be a “fifth skill”, over and above what we normally consider to be speaking skills.  


To join the webinar please go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room

Scott Thornbury – Interlanguage Fossilization, no way out?

5000805527_16f0f001c1_zAs most of you know, Scott Thornbury was born in New Zealand. After studying in London, he moved to Egypt where he taught English for 10 years. Now, he lives in Spain and has been living in Barcelona for almost 30 years.

Why am I mentioning this?  Almost four months ago, Scott started writing a new blog – The (de-) fossilization diaries – where he’s recording the vicissitudes of a new journey on which he embarked –  the ‘de-fossilization’ of his Spanish.



To fossilize means to become rigid, fixed, so is it possible to “de-fossilize” something? Can fossilized errors be overcome?

A couple of years ago, Scott Thornbury wrote an article to answer a question from a teacher: How can students overcome fossilized errors?

You can read it here


At the IATEFL Webinar on November 30, he will be sharing his experience on this challenge of ‘de-fossilizing’ his second language (Spanish)

‘Fossilization: Is it terminal?’

When:  November 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm GMT – You can check your local time here

Where: Click here

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”

To take better profit of this opportunity, you can read Fossilization: is it terminal, doctor?.

See you online!!



Seven MORE quotes on writing for ELT

You can join us tomorrow for the MaWSIG Webinar with John Hughes on How To Write ELT Classroom Materials For A Wider Public

Photo of my books