Steven Graham, Karen R.
Schwarz Foreign language study is an increasingly prominent part of education everywhere. Not only are high school students nearly always required to study a foreign language, but many lower and middle schools have added foreign languages to their curricula, whether as an enrichment or a requirement.
Foreign language "magnet" schools have been created in some school districts and seem to be very popular. And of course, it's more common than not that colleges and universities require foreign language study for graduation.
For the student unencumbered by a learning disability, foreign language study is indeed an enriching and rewarding experience.
For the learning disabled student, however, it can be an unbelievably stressful and humiliating experience, the opposite of what is intended. While it has long been recognized in the learning disabilities field that foreign language study would be a terrific challenge to learning disabled students, somehow this fact has been widely ignored in the field of foreign language instruction and in schools in general until very recently.
Teachers of ESL students have also recognized that there are students who have great difficulty mastering English because of learning disabilities.
This fact has added some urgency to the need for recognition of this problem.
As more research is being done and more teachers are recognizing the problem, more solutions are being created for the student facing the challenge of learning a foreign or second language and the teachers who teach them.
What causes this difficulty? The field of second language acquisition has historically blamed language learning failure on a number of factors. Anxiety in the foreign language classroom anxiety about making mistakes in grammar and pronunciation, about understanding the teacher, about remembering vocabulary has been prominent as a purported cause of the failure.
Among other causes cited in the literature have been lack of effort, lack of motivation, poor language learning habits and low "ability" in language learning. In the late 's, Dr. Kenneth Dinklage of Harvard University was compelled to find out why some of Harvard's brightest and best were not passing their language classes.
He quickly dismissed lack of effort, seeing that most of these students were putting other courses and their degrees at major risk by devoting unusual amounts of time and effort to their language classes.
Similarly, lack of motivation was not a cause, as these students could not graduate without completion of their language requirement. As for anxiety, he realized that the students were coming to see him because they were suffering from extreme anxiety as a result of not being able to pass their language classes.
Since most of these students had never failed a class before, he felt that anxiety had not originally played a part in their failure.
When he interviewed these students, Dinklage found that a number of the failing language students had in fact been diagnosed as learning disabled and had overcome their disability through good tutoring and very hard work; still, the foreign language course had triggered the problems the students thought were behind them.
Others in the group, Dinklage found after testing, had previously undiagnosed learning disabilities; again the problems had not shown up until foreign language classes were attempted. The third part of the group, he felt, had a "language learning disability," though Dinklage could not find the usual evidence of problems in testing.
Clearly these students were unable to be successful in their foreign language study while at the same time they were excellent students in their other classes.
He could find no other explanation. Then, in a kind of experiment years ahead of its time, he arranged for a graduate student who had a learning disabled sibling to teach Spanish to some of these struggling Harvard students using methods of instruction known to be helpful to those with learning disabilities.
The students taught in this way were mostly able to pass the exams necessary to complete the foreign requirement. Thus nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Dinklage pinpointed most of the basic ideas and principles relating to foreign languages and learning disabilities: The problem was related to being learning disabled, not to lack of motivation or effort or to anxiety by itself.Classroom Case Study In the first few years of teaching elementary education for ESL learners, I would likely encounter more learning disabilities.
The following are some case studies of dyslexics with whom we have worked over the past years. In each story, we provide background information, the course of therapy that integrates the individual's strengths and interests, .
The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme is a world-first. It is the first national programme of its kind aimed at making improvements to the lives of people with learning disabilities. CASE STUDY 1: NEWBORN Questions and Suggested Answers 1. Discuss the reason for Jerod being delivered by caesarean vetconnexx.com decision to deliver Jerod by caesarean section was made to .
This case study illustrates that assistance from the campus Disabilities Services Office can help a student with a disability: Obtain program adjustments to meet university coursework requirements.
Gain access to accessible electronic and information technology to accommodate her disability. Nov 11, · EDUCATORS have made steady progress in developing techniques for dealing with learning disabilities. Witness the case of Jane, from Greenwich, Conn., at 15 years old the quintessential American teen-ager - surrounded by friends and involved in a multitude of school activities.