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Meet Ervin Nemeth

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EFL Teaching to Special Education Students

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Ervin Nemeth
1/A Szegedi Street
H-6900 Mako, Hungary
Tel.: (+36/20) 329-14-12
E-mail:  Click here to send an e-mail


The following is a (very) brief summary of what we have tested and achieved in the past years -- from the 1998-99 school year to current -- at Pápay, Endre Special Education School, 1 Vásárhelyi u., H-6900 Mako, Hungary.  I do hope that the information will help you in your teaching and that you can see that it's worth teaching foreign languages even to slightly retarded people.  Thanks for all the help to TESL-L list members.


Introduction

In the fall of 1998, when the special education school in Mako decided to take up the Hungarian National Core Curriculum, it ment that they had to start teaching a foreign languages to their 7th graders.  The school had to decide first on the choice of languages.  German would be a language with an easier pronunciation for Hungarian speakers, but English would be the language that is more universal in the world.   Also, English is the language of the children's favorite songs, thus it can be practiced easier out of the classroom setting. As there was no qualified language teacher in the staff, the director contacted the Ervin's ESL Net language school for assistance.

Some TESL-L members might remember that I posted an urgent request of assistance for developing a teaching program.  I received approximately a dozen responses -- some simply saying that teaching languages to retarded students was a waste of time and energy, others congratulated on the idea and asked me to report about the project, and about two or three gave me some useful hints.  It became apparent that teaching foreign languages to retarded students is an uncharted territory of language teaching.  After three years of practicing it I have a rough map of that territory -- with only the basic outline of the major continents and no exact details of the subtleties.

I also promised to give some feedback on my results.  Had I the time and energy, it could be a study of several hundred pages.  Unfortunately a computer HD failure erased most of my notes (among them the e-mail messages I received from TESL-L members) of the first two years.  All I have now is a couple of handwritten notes and the memories.  Perhaps a brief summary can help you develop your teaching approach.


Experiences with setting objectives and scheduling classes
Year One -- 7th graders in regular classroom setting
Year Two -- 5th-8th graders in after school program

Year Three -- 9th graders in Vo-tech school setting