Meeting the Needs of Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties in Online and Face-to-Face Language Classrooms: Teacher Beliefs and Practices

  • Oksana Afitska Lancaster University, UK
  • Nur Ehsan Mohd Said Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Keywords: second language learning, online teaching and learning, assessment, instructional accommodations, specific learning difficulties, teacher beliefs and practice

Abstract

Drawing on communities of practice and social cognitive learning theories, this paper explores language teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and practices concerning the provision of high-quality education to learners with specific learning difficulties in various educational settings around the world. The data sample for this paper comprises qualitative data (video-recorded interviews and teaching resources) collected from six teachers working across various educational settings (primary, secondary, college and university) across several geographical areas (Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia). Thematic analysis was adopted to analyse the data. The findings suggest that teachers continue to experience challenges in educating learners with specific learning difficulties regardless of the educational setting. Limited opportunities for receiving specialised training in this area have been identified by several teachers as one of the key factors affecting the quality of their practice. The change in the mode of instruction from face-to-face to online was not always reported as negatively affecting the quality of educational provision to learners with specific learning difficulties. Technology-assisted online lesson delivery was seen as being advantageous to learners with some types of learning difficulties. Findings from this paper can be useful to teacher-practitioners and teacher-educators who are interested in improving the quality of language education for learners with specific learning difficulties.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Abrams, Z. (2008). Alternative second language curricula for learners with disabilities: Two case studies. Modern Language Journal, 92(3), 414–430.

American Psychiatric Association. Definition of specific learning difficulties (n.d.) https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/specific-learning-disorder/what-is-specific-learning-disorder

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. W. H. Freeman.

Bus, A. G., & Ijzendoorn, M. H. V. (1999). Phonological awareness and early reading: A meta-analysis of experimental training studies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(3), 403–414.

Carroll, J. B., & Sapon, S. M. (1959). The modern language aptitude test. Psychological Corporation.

Carroll, J. M., & Breadmore, H. L. (2018). Not all phonological awareness deficits are created equal: Evidence from a comparison between children with otitis media and poor readers. Developmental Science, 21(3), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12588

Carroll, J., Ross, H., Luckin, R., Blake, C., Kent, C., Clarke-Wilson, A., Laurillard, D. & Butterworth, B. (2020). Current understanding, support systems, and technology-led interventions for specific learning difficulties. Report. Council for Science, Government Office for Science.

Carroll, J. M., Solity, J., & Shapiro, L. R. (2016). Predicting dyslexia using prereading skills: The role of sensorimotor and cognitive abilities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(6), 750–758. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12488

Council of Europe. (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge University Press.

de Bree, E., & Unsworth, S. (2014). Dutch and English literacy and language outcomes of dyslexic students in regular and bilingual secondary education. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 62–81.

Eun, B. (2019). Adopting a stance: Bandura and Vygotsky on professional development. Research in Education, 105(1), 74–88.

Farukh, A., & Vulchanova, M. (2016). L1, quantity of exposure to L2 and reading disability as factors in L2 oral comprehension and production skills. Learning and Individual Differences, 50(2), 221–233.

Fisher, K. G. (2013). Teacher perceptions of working with children with specific special education exceptionalities in the general education classroom. (Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Southern Mississippi). https://aquila.usm.edu/dissertations/397

Forlin, C., & Sin, K.-F. (2017). In-service teacher training for inclusion. In G. W. Noblit (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.161

Gajar, A. H. (1987). Foreign language learning disabilities: The identification of predictive and diagnostic variables. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 20(6), 327–330.

Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (1995). Effects of direct instruction in Spanish phonology on the native-language skills and foreign-language aptitude of at-risk foreign-language learners. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28(2), 107–120.

Gavish, B. (2017). Four profiles of inclusive supportive teachers: Perceptions of their status and role in implementing inclusion of students with special needs in general classrooms. Teaching and Teacher Education, 61(1), 37–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2016.10.004

Geva, E., & Massey-Garrison, A. (2013). A comparison of the language skills of ELLs and monolinguals who are poor decoders, poor comprehenders or normal readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46(5), 387–401.

Hemmings, B. & Woodcock, S. (2011). Preservice teachers’ views of inclusive education: A content analysis. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 35(2), 103–116.

Hoover, J., & Debettencourt, L. (2018). Educating culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners: The need for continued advocacy. Exceptionality, 26(3), 176–189. https://doi.org/10.1080/09362835.2017.1299530

Inclusion in Europe through Knowledge and Technology (2015). Teaching foreign language to students who have dyslexia. Project no: KA201-2015-012, Erasmus+ Programme.

International Dyslexia Association (2002). Definition of dyslexia. http://eida.org/definition-of-dyslexia/

Kormos J., & Kontra, H. E. (2008). Hungarian teachers’ perceptions of dyslexic language learners. In J. Kormos & E. H. Kontra (Eds.), Language learners with special needs: An international perspective (pp. 189–213). Multilingual Matters.

Kormos, J. (2017). The second language learning processes of students with specific learning difficulties. Routledge.

Kormos, J. (2020). Specific learning difficulties in Second language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 53(2), 129–143. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0261444819000442

Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2010). A comparison of the foreign language learning motivation of Hungarian dyslexic and non-dyslexic students. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 20(2), 232–250.

Kormos, J., Csizér, K., & Sarkadi, Á. (2009). The language learning experiences of students with dyslexia: Lessons from an interview study. International Journal of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 3(2), 115–130.

Kormos, J., & Nijakowska, J. (2017). Inclusive practices in teaching students with dyslexia: Second language teachers’ concerns, attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs on a Massive Open Online Learning Course. Teaching and Teacher Education, 68(1), 30–41.

Košak-Babuder, M., Kormos, J., Ratajczak, M., & Pižorn, K. (2018). The effect of read-aloud assistance on the text comprehension of dyslexic and non-dyslexic English language learners. Language Testing, 36(1), 51–75.

Melby-Lervåg, M., Lyster, S.-A. H., & Hulme, C. (2012). Phonological skills and their role in learning to read: a meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 138(2), 322–352. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026744

Nijakowska, J. (2008). An experiment with direct multisensory instruction in teaching word reading and spelling to Polish dyslexic learners of English. In J. Kormos & E. H. Kontra (Eds.), Language learners with special needs: An international perspective (pp. 130–157). Multilingual Matters.

Nijakowska, J. (2014). Dyslexia in the European EFL teacher training context. In M. Pawlak & L. Aronin (Eds.), Essential topics in applied linguistics and multilingualism (pp. 129–154). Springer.

Olson, A., Leko, M. M., & Roberts, C. A. (2016). Providing students with severe disabilities access to the general education curriculum. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 41(3) 143–157. https://doi.org/10.1177/1540796916651975

Reddig, K., Campbell-Whatley, G., Booker, K., & Merriweather, L. (2021). Teachers’ perceptions of cultural and linguistically diverse students with special needs in inclusive settings. Insights into Learning Disabilities, 18(2), 143–157.

Rose, J. (2009). Identifying and teaching children and young people with dyslexia. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/14790/7/00659-2009DOM-EN_Redacted.pdf

Schneider, E., & Ganschow, L. (2000). Dynamic assessment and instructional strategies for learners who struggle to learn a foreign language. Dyslexia, 6(1), 72–82.

Shaywitz S. E., Shaywitz, J. E., & Shaywitz, B.A. (2021). Dyslexia in the 21st century. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 34(2), 80–86.

Sparks, R. L., Artzer, M., Patton, J., Ganschow, L., Miller, K., Hordubay, D. J., & Walsh, G. (1998). Benefits of multisensory structured language instruction for at-risk foreign language learners: A comparison study of high school Spanish students. Annals of Dyslexia, 48(1), 239–270. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-998-0011-8

Sparks, R., Ganschow, L., & Pohlman, J. (1989). Linguistic coding deficits in foreign language learners. Annals of Dyslexia, 39(1), 177–195.

van Viersen, S., de Bree, E. H., Kalee, L., Kroesbergen, E. H., & de Jong, P. F. (2017). Foreign language reading and spelling in gifted students with dyslexia in secondary education. Reading and Writing, 30(6), 1173–1192. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9717-x

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Published
2022-12-28
How to Cite
Afitska, O., & Mohd Said, N. E. (2022). Meeting the Needs of Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties in Online and Face-to-Face Language Classrooms: Teacher Beliefs and Practices. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 12(4), 75-100. https://doi.org/10.26529/cepsj.1453