It's all about being noticed!
Today, I would like to encourage you to have a closer look at the "invisible" problem of the disabled ones and a lesson that can be done around this topic. It started with a press article about the action that took place in one of the shopping centers in Poland. However, as it later turned out, it was part of a bigger project that have already been carried out in other countries, as well. A group of people decided to make people aware of the problem of parking spaces for the disabled ones. People keep parking their cars there, pretending not to see the "No parking sign". When asked, their most common explanations were:
"I'll be back in a moment", "I'm in a hurry", "I'm only for a second", "I've just given a lift to my grandpa", "Big deal, only this place was free".
|"I'll be back"|
|"I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry"|
People placed wheelchairs in the most "wanted places" in a car park situated in a big shopping center (Alfa Center) in Białystok, in form of a protest. Drivers kept coming and being irritated often left the car park with screeching brakes. But that is how the disabled people feel, don't they? Their disability is not the case of a choice but leaving a free parking space is.
Level: pre-intermediate +
Topic: health, disabilities, equality, human rights
Vocabulary to pre-teach: disabled, wheelchair, parking space, tow away a car, overcome problems, lifts, to be ashamed of, the need of support and acceptance, easily accessible place, protest against
With more advanced students: attitude towards, physically handicapped, live with dignity, impairments, mentally retarded, overcome everyday hurdles, wheelchair access ramps, adjust trasport, pothold pavement/sidewalk, ill adjusted, obstacles
Put the two pictures of the wheelchairs in the car park on the board. Don't say anything for a while. Let the students think for a moment and then ask:
1. What do the pictures show? Why are there wheelchairs in the car park? Where is the car park?
2. Is it a problem in our country?
3. Have you seen any people parking in a "no parking" places?
4. How do you think the disabled people feel?
5. Do you think such actions make sense? etc
Explain the story behind the pictures. Make students interested in the topic.
Tell your students that they are going to watch a video of man who parked in a place for the disabled ones. After a while he came out and saw something shocking. What do you think it was? Students are predicting and guessing with the use of expressions like: perhaps, maybe, I think... etc. Now play the film to the end. Later ask your students:
1. What would you do in such a situation?
2. How would you feel?
3. Do you think the man will ever park in such a place again? Why? Why not?
4. What do you think about such actions? Do they make sense? Are they effective?
Ask your students:
1. Are there any people in the school that are disabled? Have you ever talked to them?
2. Do you have any disabled children living in your neighbourhood? Have you ever talked to them?
3. What things can't you do when you are disabled? How do think they feel?
Play the film till 12 sec and pause. Ask your students:
1. What do you think the boy with a ball is thinking?
2. What do you think the boy on a wheelchair is thinking?
2. Can you imagine a typical day of a boy on a wheelchair? What things can't he do?
Play the film till 18 sec and pause. Do you think the boy will join the game? Why? Why not?
Would you join? Why?
Play the film till the end. Ask your students:
Are you surprised by the ending of the story? How do you think the boy was feeling? (accepted, like an ordinary memeber of a society, memeber of a group)
STAGE THREE - Homework.
Find an example of a disabled person who despite his/her disability has achieved success. Prepare a short story of such a person. Bring picture/s in your mobile phone and just take notes as you can't read the story. Students find a lot of examples like Nick Vujcick or Bethany Hamilton.
Further film and lesson materials: "Butterfly Circus" (only 22 min) or a new film called "The Fundamentals of Caring" (2016)
Hope you liked the lesson plan and you will enjoy it with your students