Many teachers will be in a similar position to me when it comes to working their classroom out and being able to support each child with everything they need.
Today I have felt quite reflective of this fact when I received my update from Grammarly, it seems to help me more than I could ever have imagined. This wonderful app is on all of my devices. So why is this so important. Well, it is two-fold:
Firstly, I am dyslexic, I struggled a lot as a child to ensure that my work was as it should be, more often than not being told to read “What was on the line and not what I Thought was there”, which is quite hard when everything has a habit of jumping around. To me, the digital technology which we empower our classrooms with every day holds such importance to all pupils, but perhaps specifically to those who struggle to access everything as easily as our most able pupils. Having a learning difficulty doesn’t mean that our students are not as capable, we just need to support them to be the best they can be, regardless.
Secondly, What I love about Grammarly is how it simply works in the background helping us to correct our spelling and our grammar. But more than this, unlike our normal spell checking facilities, it tells us what the error is and explains it. How powerful to a child that without fear of failure they can learn from their device. Yes, some may say that we are reliant on such things, but in a classroom, it can empower a child to have more confidence in their writing. In everyday life, I hope we can all agree that actually, it is a better way to be also given the reason why it is wrong and not just scroll down a few words, which more often than not are actually inaccurate.
This week I have been taking time in my classroom to ensure that all my students have the correct language settings. We are an international school with 72 different nationalities, we are very proud to be able to support such a wide variety of Nationalities. Something as simple as Keyboard settings on the iPad can really make a difference to a child. We ensure that pupils have the following as a core; English (United Kingdom) as we are a British Curriculum school, Arabic, French (France), Emoji (Who can live without it) and then the students Mother Tongue or Native Language. For a child beginning their journey in a new country, this can allow them to be able to use their device to its maximum and be supportive to their learning. Many pupils are learning English as they go through their day at school, going home and speaking once again in their mother tongue. Allowing them to be able to use their native language and translate elements in non-core lessons helps them to access our curriculum.
My other cornerstone’s include google translate, as a teacher I have just prepared some resources for my lessons next week, but knowing my classes have a range of different languages, and that some students are so very new to speaking and reading English, I have translated my document. I have just changed 10 documents into alternative languages for pupils to be able to clearly access my assessment for next week, it took less than 2 minutes. The students in my class are so capable, I am in awe that they can pick up a language so quickly, I have no intention of disadvantaging them by giving them a worksheet they cannot access. In the same way, I have my differentiated sheets, different questions to push and pull all my student’s abilities. My assessments get pinged out to them via AirDrop through AppleClassroom, So no worry about printing or wasting them, I have groups set up within classes, ready to select for AirDropping to them all at the touch of a button. The best part is none of them think to question if their sheet is different from another’s. Students can have both copies or just one (English and Native).
To allow a child to access and succeed for me overall is the most important part of my teaching. Pupils all have the google translate app, as students become more confident in their language learning they can look to this for difficult terminology, small sentence translations. But we shouldn’t in such an advanced digital world have to allow a child to feel isolated from their peers due to languages or learning difficulties. Let’s empower.
- Add Grammarly to your school’s devices (we use the free version, you can also buy a paid package)
- Get the google translate app on your devices
- Utilise Apple Classroom, share documents with specific pupil groups to differentiate your lesson
- Check your pupils have the keyboards to access their curriculum