Problems of foreign language teaching method to children with special educational needs within the inclusive education in Kazakhstan

Inclusive education is an innovation for the Republic of Kazakhstan, and essential legal acts regulating its organization have currently been developed. The implementation of inclusion principles and inclusion of children with disabilities into general education class allows them to go through social adaptation more successful, as in contrast to special school conditions, in comprehensive one they are closest to real ones. However, one of the most important problems is a lack of foreign language tested teaching methods for students with special educational needs. There is a need to develop such a foreign language teaching method, taking into account psychological and pedagogical features of children with special educational needs, which would allow to include in collaboration all participants of the educational process for achieving a certain level of foreign language proficiency as well as their successful socialization, taking into consideration the fact that knowledge of a foreign language is also a need of many children, irrespective of their disabilities.

Currently, one of the main tasks of modern education in almost all countries of the world is to ensure an access to education for each child, taking into account his individual needs and the principles of equality on a non-discriminatory basis. Thus, the concept of inclusive education is being introduced and developed in many countries of the world as one of the quality education components. This approach meets the educational needs of each individual, taking into account its developmental disorders without leaving the usual social environment [1; 2].

The State Program of Education and Science Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2016–2019 provided for the inclusive education development as ensuring all students' access to education, taking into account the features of their educational processes. The documents and methodological recommendations have been developed and introduced at secondary schools within the framework of this Program, which allowed forming special conditions in obtaining quality education by students with disabilities, correction of developmental disorders and social adaptation at all educational levels [2].

Inclusive education serves as a certain innovation for Kazakhstan education system, which has begun developing since 2015, and therefore, it requires competent management at all stages of its modeling and implementation. The main feature of the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the inclusive education process is as follows: in the past century all students were divided into «taught» and «non-taught» and were given to relevant educational institutions. The child who considered being «non-taught» due to medical reasons, found himself in an environment just like him, which significantly reduced his chances for further successful social adaptation. But nowadays in the Republic of Kazakhstan this adaptation starts at preschool age, when a child with special health needs is among others.

This suggests that the effectiveness of a child's rehabilitation taught in general education school within inclusive education is much higher than a child taught in special school. This is due to the fact that children with disabilities have poorly developed communication skills with people in special school. They begin using them after leaving such an educational institution unlike general academic school.

Therefore, the school's main task at this stage of education development is to create conditions conducive to child development regardless of their educational needs. Inclusive education effectiveness involves the development of conditions among which the main ones are: specialist's willingness to implement an inclusive pedagogical process (includes such types of readiness as personal, professional, psychological, etc.), humanistic education system, including moral and psychological climate development in a team; correctional assistance organization and psychological and pedagogical support of a child development and socialization as well [3].

All special children need to enrich the experience of social and educational interaction with their normally developing peers, but each child must be chosen an educational model which is accessible and useful for his development. Therefore, the main goal is personal self-fulfilment in social inclusion. It does not concern just their passive integration into the world, but young people with disabilities are equal members of our society, worthy of not only pity and compassion but of equal partnership.

This is achievable if an educational process is based on a comprehensive study of the student's personality by enhancing student counseling service at school, measuring based on science, analyzing the developmental dynamics of each child, developing appropriate conditions to meet his growing needs and active participation in social life.

In order to include a «special» child in society, it is necessary to develop an effective system of his education. It is necessary to include such children in pre-school institutions, and conditions developed by the educational organization should not single out such a child in any way so that he could fully realize himself. The difficulty of including a child with special health needs in the general education class is in leniency towards him. Teaching a child with special needs in a general classroom is not a charity. He studies there because other children study there and this is the best approach to learning and the best place where children meet each other most often [4].

The practice gained so far shows that the inclusive education organization is a complex process that requires both management decisions and a large number of scientific and methodological resources. Currently, teachers and management of general education schools are in dire need of organizing the pedagogical process, working out the interaction mechanism among all participants in the educational process, taking into consideration special needs of all students.

First, it is necessary to create special conditions for training students with special health needs. It should include: the use of special curriculum, teaching and education methods, special textbooks, training aids and didactic materials, special training technical tools for common and individual use, assistant service providing pupils with necessary technical assistance, conducting group and individual special education classes, providing an access to the institutions carrying out educational activities and other conditions, which make children with special education needs difficult to master educational programs [3].

Secondly, taking into account the educational process features within inclusive education, teachers of educational institutions are required not only subject and methodological knowledge, but also a deep knowledge of special psychology and correctional pedagogy, knowledge of subject teaching methods within inclusive education to ensure all students equal access to quality education, taking into account the educational needs of each child.

This type of education approach poses certain challenges to the modern education system of Kazakhstan: training and professional development of teachers at all educational levels are necessary due to the fact that most of them have no idea how to work in educational mainstreaming (a child with special education needs, a talented or a gifted child, a repatriated child, a deviant child).

Undoubtedly, the current child as a product of centuries-old evolution masters the principles of working with a cell phone, tablet or computer quickly enough, but at the same time he gets everything ready: watching cartoons and colorful games prevent the child from developing his creativity and imagination, which is an important condition for forming visual and abstract thinking.

In addition, most cartoons do not require feedback from a child and to pronounce some words or repeat the names of objects, color, etc., or the child cannot touch the objects he sees in the cartoon. Thus, the child does not get the necessary communication, contact with the outside world and conversation.

Therefore, when the child's inductive reasoning should be formed, his pre-operative thinking is poorly developed: he simply does not know many of the concepts he needs for further development. In addition, the brain deprived of information important for him, is poorly developed for further learning.

Foreign language teachers are also experiencing difficulties in training within the framework of inclusive education, as there is still no special foreign language teaching method, for example, for children with mental retardation, hearing disorder, speech disabilities and visually impaired. In Kazakhstan, children with special educational needs also include repatriated Kazakhs, who often have weak linguistic competence, and have difficulties not only with foreign language learning, but Kazakh and Russian languages as well.

Moreover, until recently, a teacher, who was the main knowledge source, required a differentiated approach to each child, which created certain sorts of difficulties. For example, he was always short of time in paying attention to each child, taking into account his educational needs. The teacher was required different tasks for gifted students, medium students, weak students and students with special health needs. In addition to the above, much attention was paid to medium students, whereas the others were given individual tasks, which they did independently.

In this case, we can't tell about equal opportunities or successful inclusion of all students in the educational process, irrespective of their educational needs: only medium students were included in it, the rest were excluded from general learning process with their individual tasks.

The education approach, when a teacher is not the center of educational process and the main source of knowledge, allows involving all participants in the learning process. The teacher's task is to direct a student in getting such a knowledge which he must learn in accordance with his knowledge, experience and pace of work.

But even under such conditions, there is a number of problems faced by the foreign language teachers. For example, school teachers are often not ready for the fact that a little motivated child to learning a foreign language might be a talented artist. In class, such children tend to learn in the same parallel as the weak students. At best, they do the task at the lowest level; at worst, they lose interest in learning a foreign language and drop out of the learning process.

Or the teacher does not know what to do with a special needs child, who is recognized as capable of learning in general education school according to psychological, medical and education commission recommendation, but at the same time such child has difficulty in mastering the first language (Kazakh or Russian), not to mention the second and the third one (foreign).

Most of these children either receive an individual task and drop out of general class work, or they are required to work on a par with the other students, which complicates their positive perception of a foreign language as a school subject and cannot put them into a successful situation, which is considered as a necessary condition of modern education requirements.

Or how to use the communicative method at a foreign language lesson if there is a child with hearing and speech impairment in the classroom? It is unknown how likely it is that such a student will learn in a class with ordinary children at general education school in Kazakhstan? Because there is no clear legislative definition of what type of disabilities students with special education needs can learn in a secondary school. The decision on whether a child is able to get a general secondary education in a comprehensive school is issued on the basis of psychological, medical and pedagogical advice (PMPA) [5].

How to teach a repatriated Kazakh child to phonetics? Such sounds as ([l], [h], [ŋ], [r]) cause individual students' pronunciation difficulties. For example, when teaching English, the sound [l] may be pronounced too softly. And on the contrary, the sound [h] in German, English and French is pronounced very hard.

It also caused difficulties when explaining the foreign language verb tense category according to traditional education, as the students did not know it in their native language. This problem has almost been solved in the updated education program, when learning is not based on knowledge gained in studying the first and second language. The grammar explanation has been simplified and comes to situational moments where this or that form should be used. For example, we say: «He goes home every day» and «He is going home right now».

How to teach a gifted or a highly motivated child a foreign language? What tasks should be given to such children not to allow them dropping out of general learning process and falling to a medium student level?

Such questions lead to the need to develop effective methods of teaching a foreign language within inclusive education, which will be used at a foreign language lesson taking into account the educational needs of both ordinary students and students with special educational needs, which requires a foreign language teacher to do the following:

  •  to analyze current foreign language methods, developed without special educational needs for ordinary students;
  •  to study teaching features in inclusive education, taking into account each student's educational needs;
  •  to study psychological and pedagogical features of children with special educational needs of all categories;
  •  to develop new methods of teaching foreign languages within inclusive education, taking into consideration all educational needs of each student.

To solve and eliminate contradictions and problems revealed, it is necessary: to develop a system of children and adolescents' psychological and pedagogical support for their further socialization; to improve parental universal education, to use forms and methods of activities that would increase children's interest in the learning process. Cooperation within inclusive education should be carried out in the following forms: collective teachers council and meetings, teacher-parent meetings, educational activities, future first-graderclasses; a comprehensive and multi-level support for educational process participants: a teacher (a tutor, school office), child education (a special education teacher, an assistant, a psychologist, parents) and a child socialization (psychologist, parents, volunteers).

The support of educational process participants is carried out through the following innovative technologies, which together make the complex multi-level support of its participants: technology of a child adaptation to a new educational level; a teacher support technology; a child assistance technology in the learning process; a family interaction technology; personal education technology [3].

The history of inclusive education development in such countries as Finland, New Zealand is much older than in our country, and many countries have gained a rich and successful experience in child inclusive education. However, an analysis of foreign research literature has shown that the choice of an effective technology for teaching foreign languages to children with special education needs within inclusive education is still important.

Sigal N.G. believes that, on the one hand, this problem is caused by traditionally established view in the educational system that foreign language learning is a complex process, especially for children with various mental and physical disabilities. Until recently it was considered improper to teach children with special education needs a foreign language as an additional one, motivated primarily by the interests of this category of children [6; 13].

Foreign language learning within inclusive education is necessary because it forms communication skills not only with the immediate environment, but also allows getting in touch with another culture, allows students with various disabilities to socialize successfully, to be equal in the educational process while working with other people.

In this regard, the interest of children with special education needs is important. According to foreign researchers, these children show an interest in a foreign language learning to the same extent as their healthy peers: a successful career, a learning perspective in various international educational programs, an opportunity to communicate with foreign friends, a foreign language culture learning. Certainly, among children with disabilities there are those, who like their healthy peers, show no interest in a foreign language learning. But in general, the motivation depends on the environment in which the student is outside the classroom and on the teacher's ability to interest the students in his subject.

Here, it should be noted that the ability to learn a language is laid by nature. A person cannot master any language if his certain brain areas are damaged. On the other hand, teachers' attention is often focused on the psychophysical impairment diagnosis in a child development, which is certainly important at an early education stage. But, if diagnosis is as a goal in itself and is not the basis for developing a student's individual educational path in accordance with his abilities, then, in this case, a foreign language learning, like other general educational subject learning, is impossible.

When teaching a foreign language within inclusive education, it is necessary to use such methods that would allow a student to remain included in the learning process, but at the same time he would not have more difficulties than other participants [7]. One of cross-curricular methods that allow different students to obtain knowledge within inclusive education is the so-called «scaffolding», which serve as a way to overcome the «zone of proximal development» [8; 15]. Such scaffoldings can be: classmates' help, teacher's prompt, the use of various tables and charts, which can be developed both by the teacher and students themselves, the use of additional technology, for example, amplifying the sound for hearing impaired, or a «loop» tool on the computer monitor for visually impaired; the use of graphic text options or audio tests for hearing impaired students.

Independent determination of which «scaffolding» is necessary to use in a foreign language learning process will allow a learner to estimate his weaknesses and draw up, for example, tables and charts in such a way that he could use them in the future.

Inclusive education development and emergence in some countries and the UN has led to the fact that it has become a global trend and has launched complex processes on developing new standards, methods and approaches to education in most countries of the world, with the exception of a small minority. Kazakhstan also took an active part in changing the approach to education and the inclusion of all students, regardless of their needs. The advanced education, changing approaches to education and teaching has become a reason of such processes that occur within the framework of humanization throughout the world. Children with special education needs stop being excluded from society and all conditions for them are being created.

Inclusion of children with special education needs does not refer only to disabled children but it includes all children, irrespective of their educational needs, for example, ungraded school children,or repatriated Kazakh children. The work within inclusive education has shown that it is necessary to develop methodological regulations and their gradual implementation in order to take into account the peculiarity of mastering a foreign language by children with various special educational needs which is a prerequisite for learning a foreign language in an inclusive education.



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Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy