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Lancaster University’s guide helps teachers understand special learning differences

Young woman with Down syndrome and her university friend sitting at table working together on project looking

A comprehensive guide on how to teach languages to learners with Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) has been produced by a Lancaster University professor.

In her recently published book, ‘Teaching Languages to Students with Specific Learning Differences’, Professor Judit Kormos, from the Department of Linguistics and English Language, hopes to enable language teachers to gain a thorough understanding of the nature of SpLDs, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD and autism, and how these affect both general learning processes and the mechanisms of second language acquisition.

In addition, the book, co-written with Anne Margaret Smith, a specialist tutor and assessor for students with SpLDs, explores the inclusive methods and techniques of teaching and assessment that foster success in language learning.

Language teaching is embedded in a wider social and educational context, and therefore the book also aims to provide an in-depth discussion of general educational issues related to identifying and disclosing disabilities and to making transitions from one institution to the other.

The content has been thoroughly updated and revised for this second edition, particularly in the areas of new evidence-based methods and tools for identifying SpLDs and new conceptualisations of neurodiversity.

The book, designed to be valuable resource for teacher education programmes, also includes the latest research on assessment, transition and progression, and the impact of SpLDs on additional language learning.

This book provides practical tips designed to be beneficial for anyone engaged in language teaching. This is a book that every language teacher should keep as a guide for everyday use, and an extremely valuable resource for teacher education programmes.

Professor Kormos said: “Our book aspires to help educators to identify barriers language learners with SpLDs might face in different contexts, help remove these barriers and enhance efforts towards inclusive language teaching. We hope that our work will inspire future research and initiatives to make multilingual language education accessible to all.”

The author of The Second Language Acquisition Process of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (Routledge, 2017), Professor Kormos was also a key partner in the ELTon award-winning DysTEFL and Comics for Inclusive Language Learning Erasmus+ projects and is the lead educator of the Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching massive open online learning course offered by Future Learn.

Anne Margaret Smith is a specialist tutor and assessor for students with SpLDs. She is the editor of Activities for Inclusive Language Teaching: Valuing Diversity in the ELT Classroom (Delta Publishing, 2020). Her company ELT Well offers advice and training for teachers and assessors who want to explore the overlap between language learning and SpLDs.

Teaching Languages to Students with Specific Learning Differences is published by Channel View Publications Ltd/Multilingual Matters and will be launched online on November 29 at 6pm.

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