Giana Maria Hennigan

Dyslexia in the Classroom: Inclusive Language Learning Practices.

Teaching languages to students with dyslexia can be overwhelming for teachers as they often lack understanding of the problems faced by these learners and the tools to support them. In this talk, I will highlight some of the barriers faced by dyslexic students and provide techniques which can be used to enhance the language learning process for these learners.

SESSION ABSTRACT

"Teaching English as a second language to students with dyslexia can be challenging. Dyslexic learners have not only phonological difficulties but also difficulties with working memory (the ability to retain, pay attention to and process information), processing speeds (how fast information can be understood and dealt with), and attention ( the ability to focus on information).

This talk, which is a theoretical presentation and involves little audience participation, will be specifically focusing on the following points:

Introduction:

1) The barriers faced by these learners drawing on findings from not only recent research but also my ongoing PhD research.

Main body:

2) Outline several techniques, including the adaptation of class material, to foster the development of language skills of all language learners.

3) Provide examples of inclusive materials to explain the suggested techniques further and to demonstrate how to create and design practical language learning tools to enhance the language learning process for all learners.

Conclusion:

4) Summary of main points covered

The main objective is to increase the understanding of the needs of dyslexic students. In the region of Murcia alone, there are over 20,000 primary and secondary students enrolled in bilingual education, over 2,500 of whom have officially been diagnosed with dyslexia. However, while there is a wealth of methodology and language learning materials for non-dyslexic students, there is a relative dearth of dyslexia-friendly material available to meet the needs of students with this particular difficulty. Not only is there a lack of material but also inadequate teacher training that focuses on catering to the problems faced by Spanish-speaking dyslexic learners of English. This talk is relevant for English language teachers as it hopes to provide some insight into how to foster an inclusive learning environment which can ease the burden faced by learners with specific learning differences. "

SPEAKER BIO

Giana is a PhD student in Applied Linguistics at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. She is a qualified TEFL teacher with over nine years of teaching experience in Spain. Her research interests include specific learning differences and second language acquisition processes, as well as issues of motivation in language learning and their implications for classroom practice.