My post for Marisa Constantinides’s Blog Challenge-A Disabled-Access Friendly world: Lessons for the ELT classroom

Many thanks to Marisa Constantinides for suggesting this blog challenge – and for reminding both teachers and students all that disabilities do belong in the classroom and we should always keep in mind people who have some kind of impairment.

(Image taken from cyborgbeetle.deviantart.com)

The lesson I have prepared especially for this blog challenge is a poem, one of my favourite kinds of literature to teach with. I like using poems for various topics and I believe that this poem by A.C.Leming called Dreams, which is about physical impairment, would be suitable to include in such a lesson.

In my opinion, poetry is an excellent medium of language which conveys messages, thoughts and feelings in a special way and gives students great food for thought. Plus, it can give the students a lot of inspiration and a new way to examine a topic!

I would use the specific poem with upper-intermediate or advanced students.

  • A pre-reading activity could be to make a word cloud out of all the words of the poem and have the students write their own poem, using all the words.
  • They can then look at their own work and the poem itself, compare and discuss why they wrote their own the way they did and why the poet chose to write hers in another.
My word cloud – I chose the shape of a moon, to go with the title of the poem (dreams – night)

Some questions as they are reading/looking at the poem could be:

● Look at the poem. What does the shape remind you of? What does it look like? (A staircase. Why?)

● Why do you think the title is Dreams? (Any idea can be accepted, as it is poetry)

 

A.C. Leming

DREAMS

My

dreams

consist of

climbing stairs,

one by one, feeling

muscles clench and relax

at the direction of the nerves driven

by my will to ascend up and up, away

from the darkness of waking, immobile, in

my hospital bed.

After you have read the poem:

● What feelings has the shape and the poem itself generated?

● Why is she separating my and dreams, in your opinion?

● Now that you have read the poem, what is she dreaming of?

● What kind of words is she using to show direction (up, up, away, ascend – why does she use words that all show upward motion?)

● Why is the last line at the far right end of the rest of the poem?

● Ask them if they can draw any images that come from their reflection on the poem. The images can depict their feelings or any images evoked after reading the poem.

After analysing the poem, the conversation can take a more general direction:

● How are people with impairments treated in your country? (Are there facilities for them, like special rehabilitation centres, special entrances, ramps and special restrooms in buildings)?

● This question can be a bit sensitive, so you can ask them generally if they know of someone with an impairment. They do not have to tell you who it is, but they can explain to the class what kind of impairment the person has, how s/he handles it in everyday life and anything else they can think of.

● Throughout the lesson you can focus on vocabulary pertinent to the subject, such as visually -, physically- or mentally impaired and so on.

● As an after-class assignment, they can write a letter to the Minister of Education of their country on a topic such as: What solutions can be found for disabled people to be integrated into society?

December 3rd is International Disability Day. The lessons on disabilities can be used then, but I suggest choosing any day to remind everyone of people with disabilities.

Marisa Constantinides

Marisa, thank you so much!

(Many thanks to Marisa for recommended the drawing activities, the word cloud and the last writing assignment – I had come up with something different, but I liked Marisa’s idea much better!)

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24 thoughts on “My post for Marisa Constantinides’s Blog Challenge-A Disabled-Access Friendly world: Lessons for the ELT classroom

  1. Lovely lesson contribution, Vicky! Many thanks!

    Poetry is such a powerful vehicle for emotions and your activities both engage, raise awareness and encourage students to take action.

    Very proud of your work!

    Marisa

    1. Hi Marisa!

      Thank you so much – for your kind and encouraging words, for the great blog challenge you thought of and for the great ideas you added to the post!

      I really appreciate everything.

      Sending you my warmest regards from Switzerland, Vicky

    1. Brad, you are super!

      A million thanks for your wonderful words and the hug – sending you a big Greek-Canadian hug : )

      Hope to see you soon buddy. Vicky

  2. What a powerful poem!
    I think your activites will really lead the students to uncover the power in the different layers here.
    It’s great to see the idea Marissa presented sprouting wings!

    1. Hi Naomi!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting – I am glad you liked the poem.

      When Marisa first announced the challenge, I was so interested and thought it was a fantastic and original idea. I think that a lot can come out of this and we can all learn from each other and keep reminding the world of this topic. Congratulations to Marisa for thinking of it!

      Many many thanks again Naomi! Vicky

  3. A wonderful contribution to the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign, Vicky! It is vital that we all retain ‘the will to ascend’. I’ll be using your lesson plan with my students.

    1. Thank you Julie!

      It is all thanks to Marisa and her wonderful initiative.

      I am glad you liked the lesson plan – let me know how it goes! I am very happy you are going to use it. Have a wonderful day!

      Kindest regards,
      Vicky

  4. I’d like to join the chorus of thanks and congratulations, Vicky, for your contribution.
    It’s a great boost to the Disabled Access friendly campaign. Cheers.

  5. Hi Vicki,

    Wow, I’m honored that you chose my poem for your lesson plan. I’m not sure how else to respond. I originally included Dreams in a draft of a chapbook I wrote for a writing challenge through Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer. Unfortunately, I had to cut that poem. It was a hard decision to make, because I love this poem. Ironically, the last line was supposed to be tabbed out to finish the staircase image, but when it was posted on the Inglis journal website, that was never corrected. 🙂

    Feel free to contact me. And thank you for sharing my work.

    1. Good evening from Switzerland,

      The honour is all mine, for having your poem on my blog (thanks to Marisa Constantinides who set the blog series) and for your comment! I really appreciate it. I hope I did your wonderful poem justice.

      I would love to read more poems of yours!

      Thank you so much – you have made me very happy with your comment!

      Kindest regards,
      Vicky

  6. Vicky,

    I am sorry I misspelled your name yesterday. Evidently I was too flabbergasted to double check my comment before I posted.

    I am not sure if you have my email, so here it is: acleming@gmail.com.

    I am entering the chapbook Dreams was a part of in a contest sometime before June. Once I have it ready to mail out to the contest, I could send it your way, too.

    I have a blog, A Cat Named Dog, onto which I will eventually post some poems, but it’s only been up since Sat? so it’s pretty much bare bones right now.

    Also, I sent the link to this post to the editor of Wordgathering. He emailed me that he’s tweeting it and linking to it from the Wordgathering FB page. Just thought you might like to know.

    1. Hello!

      No worries about my name – thank you though : ) I would love to read your poetry and thanks so much, it would be an honour. Many many thanks for forwarding my post, I really appreciate it! My warmest wishes and good luck in the competition!

      Best wishes,
      Vicky

  7. Vicky,

    I have the chapbook edited and will send it your way, if you’d like it. I’m a bit of a procrastinator. : )

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