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Dyslexia and foreign languages

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by ciutazza, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I'm an Italian primary teacher and I teach English language in classes from first level (6 years old) to fifth level (11 years old). I need suggestions to help a child of third level (8 years old) with dyslexia problems. How can I involve him into lessons using few times writing activities and stimulate his attention that is not much long?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Hello,
    I'm an Italian primary teacher and I teach English language in classes from first level (6 years old) to fifth level (11 years old). I need suggestions to help a child of third level (8 years old) with dyslexia problems. How can I involve him into lessons using few times writing activities and stimulate his attention that is not much long?
    Thanks for your help.
     
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Established commenter

    The conventional wisdom is that learners with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) will experience challenges when studying modern foreign languages and that those speaking an orthographically transparent language (e.g. Italian, German, Spanish, Finnish) will find learning a language with a relatively opaque or complex spelling system (e.g. English and French) something of an ordeal. However, plenty of research has been conducted over the last two decades into understanding foreign language learning difficulties better and into developing methods of teaching foreign languages to people with specific learning difficulties (SpLD). This research has not been solely case study and anecdote based, as witness the prolific work of educational psychologists Ganschow and Sparks in the USA who are happy to publish the statistics and hard data underpinning their investigations.
    On my website at
    http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/mfl/biblio.doc
    I have a bibliography of modern foreign languages and special educational needs with a section on specific learning difficulties containing more than 600 references. They include several in Italian, namely...
    Claudia, G. and Rossana, G. (2008) Dislexia what is it? Uno studio teorico e pratico sul’insegnamente della lingua inglese agli studenti dislessici, Rome: Armando Editore.

    De Luca, K. and Papalia, F. (2006) Dislessia e lingue straniere, EDAS.

    Kvilekval, P. (2007) Insegnare l'inglese ai bambini dislessici. Un metodo sicuro per tutti, Libriliberi.

    Langé, G. (2005) Modalità di insegnamento dell'inglese per alunni con DSA, VIII° Congresso Nazionale dell'Associazione Italiana Dislessia, Milano, 10 giugno 2005, http://www.dislessia.it/atti/milano2005/Lange.pdf

    Papalia, F. (2002) Dislessia e nuovi scenari della didattica delle lingue straniere, http://php4.cineca.it/unimessina/pubblico/pra.php?code_a=GRME024581

    Cappa, C. (n.d.) Le lingue straniere, http://www.dislessia.it/sezioni/torino/25.%20Le%20lingue%20straniere_Inglese.pdf
    So there's been some research in your own country on teaching foreign languages (especially English) to students with SpLD (dyslexia).
    The book I recommend to anybody seeking to find out about the implications of SpLD for foreign language learning, and about teaching strategies that will help to include students with SpLD in the foreign language classroom, is:
    Crombie, M. and Schneider, E. (2003) Dyslexia and Modern Foreign Languages: Gaining Success in an Inclusive Context, London: David Fulton.
    It is a very readable, practical book that should be in every foreign language teacher's library because the techniques it recommends would speed the progress of every foreign language learner, not just those with SpLD. The chapter titles are: "Success in a mainstream foreign language
    classroom", "Barriers to foreign language learning, "Metacognition"
    (learning how to learn), "Foreign language learning as a motivating
    successful experience", "Preparing for and passing tests", "Technology
    and its benefits for dyslexic students".
     
  4. Thank you very much for information and bibliography, I'll use them in my work.
     
  5. That is also why there are far more dyslexics in English-speaking countries than in ones with better spelling systems.
    I think an 8-yr-old child is old enough to be told that part of the problem in learning English is the inconsistency and unreliability of its spelling, especially its changing letter sounds as in 'man/many, paid/said, on/only/once', all of which are shown at http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2009/12/reading-problems.html

    I am from a foreing background myself. I came to England in 1964 aged 19. When learning new words with crazy spellings, I often used to put more sensible spellings in brackets next to them, to help me remember their prounciation, e.g. said[sed], people[peepl], through[throo]. Perhaps this is something u could try with your pupil?
    I have found it to work well for teaching poor English readers the most common tricky words too, because they don't get much help with learning them at home. The simpler spellings make them less dependent on adult help for doing so.
     
  6. Thanks for suggestions. I usually use flash cards to involve him into activities, spell words more time to facilitate his memory; now I'll try to use also sensible spelling.


     

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