Elina Vilar Beltrán, co-editor of our recent publication Inclusive Language Education and Digital Technology, writes about how she came to be interested in inclusive education and how the book came about.
Our book is the result of years of work and passion about the topic. I started having an interest in inclusive education and language teaching while doing my degree in Spain more than ten years ago and I tried to make that the topic of my PhD. However, administrative constraints meant that it was necessary for me to gear my research towards a probably more manageable topic at my hometown university at the time, namely that of pragmatics. It was not long after my viva that I realized that my interest in the field of languages for all had not only not disappeared, but had been strengthened throughout the years. It was then that I came across a very interesting MA on e-Inclusion directed by an even more interesting person, Dr Chris Abbott, Reader in E-Inclusion at King’s College, London. I wrote to him and suggested doing a Post-Doc on the issues of what has now become our book. He took immediate interest and added Dr Jane Jones, MFL Specialist, to the equation. We quickly became a team and have been working together ever since.
It was clear that there was research that focused on technology and special educational needs and perhaps even more on technology and languages but little had been done on technology, SEN and languages together. That was the trigger to start contacting those experts that had published or worked on the topic and soon found the contributors to our volume. We also tried to include as many different topics as possible and give it a European perspective that we hope we have achieved. Our chapters cover issues such as teaching languages to pupils with dyslexia and hearing impairments and copyright matters, all within an inclusive perspective. There’s also a focus on languages teachers and the use of technology in the classroom and broader more theoretical topics. We believe our book is an excellent companion to language professionals these days; to us, all teachers are inclusive teachers and with the prominent place of the internet and technologies in the classroom this volume could not be timelier.