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Foreign language requirements (updated January 2003)
Should students with learning disabilities be exempt from foreign language
requirements? What are some factors to be considered, and is there any research on teaching
Many professionals question the foreign language requirement for students with learning disabilities because of the difficulties these students have in processing language. Schools and colleges face a dilemma when it comes to foreign language requirements for these students. Some schools waive the foreign language requirements and offer course substitutions. Others use various alternative teaching and assessment methods for teaching the language.
Following are links to ERIC digests, minibibliographies, frequently asked questions (FAQs), related Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the
You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:
The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:
- In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
- For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, email@example.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC.
(no longer available)
The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:
- The originating journal
- Through interlibrary loan services at your local college or public library
- From article reproduction services such as
ERIC Search Terms Used
second language learning
A Policy of Inclusion: Alternative Foreign Language Curriculum for High-Risk
and Learning-Disabled Students.
Publication date: 1999
Document Type: Information Analyses (070)
Geographic US; Illinois
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
As an alternative to waiving foreign language requirements for students with
learning disabilities or learning problems, a policy of inclusion in foreign
language programs is proposed, based on research suggesting that alternative
language teaching methods can be effective with these populations. The rationale
for such a policy and the theoretical and research basis for corresponding teaching
methods are outlined, focusing on the use of multisensory structured language
teaching techniques, and an approach adopted in one high school French program
is described. The program's linguistic components include: distribution of audio
tapes of the course; dialogues including colloquial language use, some generated
by the students themselves; use of a textbook; tactic/kinesthetic reinforcement
through writing exercises; daily phonology drills and syntax practice; phonetic
transcription exercises; repetition and review; reduction in the amount of material
taught; and a variety of student assessment methods. Cultural components include:
the history of the language; current events; taped immigrant interviews; and
geography. Logistical and organizational considerations in creating and implementing
such a curriculum are discussed briefly.
Descriptors: *High Risk Students; *Inclusive Schools; *Learning Disabilities;
*Learning Problems; *Multisensory Learning; *Second Languages; *Audiotape Recordings;
Class Activities; Classroom Techniques; Curriculum Design; Dialogs (Language);
Educational Policy; French; Graduation Requirements; High School Students; High
Schools; Instructional Materials; Mainstreaming; Phonetic Transcription; Phonology;
Program Descriptions; Pronunciation Instruction; Second Language Instruction;
Second Language Learning; Student Developed Materials; Teaching Methods; Textbooks;
Foreign Language Learning Problems of Students Classified as Learning Disabled
and Non-Learning Disabled: Is There a Difference?
Sparks, Richard L.
Topics in Language Disorders; v21 n2 p38-54 Feb 2001
Publication date: 2001
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Position papers (120)
Notes: Special Issue: Accommodations for College Students with Learning
Research on students with foreign language (FL) learning problems is reviewed
and the Linguistic Coding Difference Hypotheses is described. The continuum of
FL learning is explained and the role of linguistic variables in FL learning is
supported. Recent research outcomes and a court decision regarding FL course
substitutions are discussed.
Descriptors: **Academic *Accommodations *(Disabilities); *Court *Litigation;
*Learning Disabilities; *Second Language *Learning; *Academic Failure;
Postsecondary Education; Second Languages; Secondary Education; Student Rights
Interaction in the Foreign Language Classroom: Students with Learning
Disabilities and Their Teachers.
Publication date: 2001
Document Type: Research/Technical (143); Conference papers (150)
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Geographic U.S.; Maryland
Notes: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for
Applied Linguistics (St. Louis, MO, February 24-27, 2001).
This paper examines the relationship between learning disabilities and language
teaching based on the fact that interaction is inherent to the notion of
classroom pedagogy itself. The main argument of this paper is that until a
consensus is reached on how to teach a second language to a student with a
learning disability, effective interactional instruction may play an essential
role in ensuring success in inclusive settings for students with disabilities
and differences. The three dimensions of interaction in foreign language
classrooms are discussed, including results and recommendations. The conclusion
provides suggestions concerning the relevance of teacher self-reflection and
effective classroom management as components of any successful language teacher
education program, and discusses future foreign language classroom research on
learning disabled students that take into account individual learner variables,
social context, and affective components of learning and teaching.
Descriptors: *Learning Disabilities; *Second Language Instruction; *Teacher
Student Relationship; *Academic Accommodations (Disabilities); Elementary Secondary Education; Second
Language Learning; Teaching Methods
College Students with LLD: The Phonological Core as Risk for Failure in Foreign
Downey, Doris M.; Snyder, Lynn E.
Topics in Language Disorders; v21 n1 p82-92 Nov 2000
Publication date: 2000
Document Type: Information Analyses (070); Journal articles (080)
Notes: Theme Issue: Assessment and Intervention with Adults with LLD: A Paradigm
This article describes the characteristics of college students with language
learning disorders and other at-risk students who have difficulty learning a
foreign language. Research which points to deficits in native language abilities
and poor phonological processing skills as the cause of foreign-language
learning problems is discussed.
Descriptors: *Academic Failure; *Disability Identification; *Language
Impairments; *Learning Disabilities; *Second Language Learning; *Student
Characteristics; *College Students; High Risk Students; Higher Education; Second
Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Accommodating the Learning
Disabled Student in the Foreign Language Curriculum (An Update).
Sparks, Richard L.; Javorsky, James
Publication date: 2000
Foreign Language Annals; v33 n6 p645-54 Nov-Dec 2000
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Position papers (Position papers (120) )
Examines special issues surrounding foreign language (FL) requirements for
students classified as learning disabled (LD). Focuses on why students
experience FL learning problems, the problems with the definition of and
diagnosis of LD, whether research supports traditional assumptions about LD and
FL learning, whether students classified as LD should be permitted to substitute
courses for or waive the college FL requirement, and implications of research.
Descriptors: *Graduation Requirements; *Learning Disabilities; *Required
Courses; *Second Language Learning; *Higher Education; Identification; Second Language Instruction
Identifiers: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Rehabilitation Act 1973
Experiences with the University Foreign Language Requirement: Voices of Students
with Learning Disabilities.
Ganschow, Leonore; Philips, Lois; Schneider, Elke
Publication date: 2000
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Research/Technical (Research/Technical
Notes: Special Issue: Issues that Challenge Adults with Learning Disabilities.
Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal; v10 n3 p111-28 Sum 2000
A study examined perspectives and learning experiences of 71 college students
with learning disabilities who were granted course substitutions for foreign
language requirements. Students rated grammar as the most difficult foreign
language task and the majority said they would have enrolled in modified foreign
language courses had they been available. (Contains references.) (Author/CR)
Descriptors: *Academic Failure; *College Students; *Learning Disabilities;
*Second Language Learning; *Second Language Programs; *Student Attitudes;
*Academic Accommodations (Disabilities); Postsecondary Education
Learning Disabilities: Teaching and Reaching All Learners.
Barnett, Harriet; Jarvis-Sladky, Kay
Hispania, v78 n1 p163-66 Mar 1995
Document Type: Position papers (120);Journal articles (080)
Discusses strategies for teaching Spanish to students with learning
disabilities. These strategies include using flexible materials and alternative
assessment methods, accepting individual students and ascertaining their
disabilities, adapting to student needs, using a multisensory approach, and
teaching students study skills particular to Spanish.
Descriptors: Individual Differences; Instructional Materials; *Learning
Disabilities; *Learning Strategies; Measurement Techniques; Second Language
Instruction; Second Language Learning; Spanish; *Student Motivation; Student
Needs; Student Participation; Study Skills; *Teacher Attitudes; *Teaching
Foreign Language Requirements and Students with Learning Disabilities. ERIC
ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, D.C. Apr 1993; 4p.
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED),
Washington, DC. Contract No: RI88062010
Report No: EDO-FL-93-04
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Document Type: ERIC PRODUCT (071); ERIC DIGESTS (SELECTED) (073)
Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIEAUG93
This digest discusses the dilemma surrounding foreign language requirements at
colleges and universities and students with learning disabilities. Many students
and professionals question the reasonableness of foreign language requirements
for students with learning disabilities, but, according to Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, colleges and universities are not required to waive
such requirements. The digest focuses specifically on the following: waivers and
course substitutions, alternatives to waivers and course substitutions,
considerations involved in teaching foreign languages to students with learning
disabilities, and the Orton-Gillingham Technique. A program designed for
teaching Latin to learning disabled students is described, and information on a
conference that focuses specifically on foreign language learning and learning
disabilities is provided.
Descriptors: College Students; *Graduation Requirements; Higher Education;
Latin; *Learning Disabilities; Program Descriptions; Second Language
Instruction; *Second Language Learning; *Teaching Methods
Identifiers: ERIC Digests
Diagnosing and Accommodating the Foreign Language Learning Difficulties of
College Students with Learning Disabilities.
Sparks, Richard; And Others
Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, v7 n3 pConference papers (150)-60
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (Journal articles (080)); REVIEW LITERATURE
(Information Analyses (070))
Journal Announcement: CIJJAN93
This paper provides an historical overview of the foreign language learning
difficulties of students with learning disabilities; describes a language-based
assessment model for diagnosing foreign language learning problems; and
discusses the role of diagnosticians, counselors, and academic service providers
in the identification, accommodation, and the waiver or course substitution
Descriptors: College Students; *Educational Diagnosis; Handicap Identification;
Higher Education; *Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; Models; *Second
Language Instruction; *Second Language Learning; Staff Role; Student Evaluation
Use of an Orton-Gillingham Approach to Teach a Foreign Language to
Dyslexic/Learning-Disabled Students: Explicit Teaching of Phonology in a Second
Sparks, Richard L.; And Others
Annals of Dyslexia, v41 p96-118 1991
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (Journal articles (080)); POSITION PAPER
(Position papers (Position papers (120) )); NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055)
Journal Announcement: CIJMAY93
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
The Orton-Gillingham method, a multisensory structured language approach which
adheres to the direct and explicit teaching of phonology, is presented as an
alternative instructional strategy for dyslexic/learning-disabled or other "at
risk" students learning a second language. A method for adapting this approach
to teaching Spanish is described.
Descriptors: *Dyslexia; High Risk Students; *Learning Disabilities; Multisensory
Learning; *Phonology; *Second Language Instruction; Second Language Learning;
Sensory Integration; Spanish; *Teaching Methods
Identifiers: *Orton Gillingham Method
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