There's only been one lesson so far in the Foundations to Inclusion course, run by Beth Cox, but I can already see that it's had a huge effect on my thinking and reflection on my own experience. I did say that I was going to write a blog post after each session, but I feel that, as it's a paid course, it would be doing a disservice to Beth and her hard work if I shared everything I learn. But what I can share is my actions after each session, so that any readers can see the effect of learning more about inclusion.
For example, and I know this is only a very small thing, but each step counts. Directly after the session, I started work on some IELTS writing task 1 material for a project I'm working on and the task type was for maps. One of the maps was going to be set in a large facility covering a couple of blocks of town, and was intended for multinational usage. Looking at authentic maps for inspiration, I noticed that there was a multi-faith centre and I decided to include one in my own map - after all, places like this exist in the real world, so why can't they exist in an exam item? In another task, I included disabled-accessible buildings - again, very small, but hopefully it helps to raise the inclusivity of the materials that I produce.
It was at this point that I realised that there were indeed, many resources, articles, books and webinars on becoming more inclusive within the sphere of ELT. I also noticed that I hadn't come across a definitive list of resources - there are plenty out there, but a lot of them are maybe unknown, and so I intend to build a list of resources over time of resources for ELT professionals to visit and see what materials are out there. I've already got quite a few candidates for the list already. I've decided that once it has been populated a bit more, I'll publish it on here as well as a document on LinkedIn (if I can work it out). Of course, some of these resources are geared towards gaining specific inclusion, while not looking at other issues, but it would be impossible to cover every aspect in one resource.
So, I thought a good place to start would be to look at general inclusive practices in English teaching, and one resource I've found is from OUP:
This is available as a pdf from here. It looks briefly at quite a few areas, and is certainly well worth a read - dyslexia, dysgraphia, autism, ADHD as well as migrants and refugees and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Aside from the fact that it's been written by experts, it also comes with ideas for lesson activities.
But what does this mean for materials writers, like me? And specifically, for examinations? It's my goal to be as inclusive as possible in my exam writing and editing, but to also help examination providers of ELT exams become more inclusive themselves. I realise this is going to be a challenge, but I think with some other ELT professionals I've met, I think we can make a difference.
A little task for anyone reading - if you know of any worthy inclusive practice resources I can include in the list, please do let me know - either on here or LinkedIn.
Another shout out would be if anyone knows who I might be able to contact in regard to inclusivity in ELT examinations, especially IELTS?