Carol Read

A whole child approach to learning in uncertain times

Whether we’re teaching remotely or face-to-face, it’s more important than ever to adopt a whole child approach in order to make learning pleasurable and effective. In this session, we’ll explore what is meant by a whole child approach and discuss practical ideas and strategies to integrate all aspects of children’s development into our teaching, whatever the mode of delivery.


"The session will start by inviting delegates to share their understanding of what is meant by a whole child approach. Their responses will be used to establish that a whole child approach involves catering for all aspects of children’s social, emotional, psychological, physical, cognitive, creative and language development while simultaneously working towards academic objectives. This concept of a whole child approach will be illustrated by inviting delegates to participate in, and then reflect on, a typical classroom activity. This will be used to establish that, by adopting a whole child approach, children are much more likely to learn more English and become more confident, autonomous learners than in a more narrowly focused, language-driven approach. Reference will be made to the pandemic and how in a time of stress and uncertainty for everyone, adopting a whole child approach is more important than ever, whatever delivery mode is used.

In the main part of the session, the word ‘WHOLE’ will be unpacked as an acronym to describe five key ingredients in a whole child approach. The rationale and explanation for each ingredient will be accompanied by inviting delegates to do and discuss a range of practical ideas and activities which integrate focusing on the whole child and learning English in engaging ways, in either online and/or face-to-face delivery modes. The five ingredients of ‘WHOLE’ will be as follows:

W for Wellbeing

H for Head and Heart

O for Opportunities and Options

L for Language and Literacy

E for Evaluation

The conclusion will re-cap on the main areas covered in the session and emphasize that by integrating all aspects of children’s development into our teaching, we not only enrich children’s language learning experience (whether online or face-to-face) but also achieve more successful and long-lasting outcomes.


Carol Read has over 30 years’ experience in ELT as a teacher, teacher trainer, academic manager, materials writer and educational consultant. Carol’s main specialisation is in early years and primary language teaching and she has published extensively in this area. Carol is also a former President of IATEFL. You can find out more about Carol by visiting