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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 strategies?

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 citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

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, service@edrs.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:

ERIC Search Terms Used

second language learning


learning disabilities

ED428586 FL025785
A Policy of Inclusion: Alternative Foreign Language Curriculum for High-Risk and Learning-Disabled Students.
Pritikin, Lorin
Pages: 15
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; Writing Exercises

EJ623062 EC626785
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)
Language: English
Notes: Special Issue: Accommodations for College Students with Learning Disabilities.
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

ED457688 FL026910
Interaction in the Foreign Language Classroom: Students with Learning Disabilities and Their Teachers.
Lacorte, Manel
Publication date: 2001
Document Type: Research/Technical (143); Conference papers (150)
Pages: 13
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
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

EJ616362 EC626118
College Students with LLD: The Phonological Core as Risk for Failure in Foreign Language Classes.
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)
Language: English
Notes: Theme Issue: Assessment and Intervention with Adults with LLD: A Paradigm Shift.
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 Languages

EJ619850 FL531075
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) )
ISSN: ISSN-0015-718X
Language: English
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 (Section 504)

EJ624834 EC627207
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 (143))
ISSN: ISSN-1046-6819
Language: English
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

EJ501513 FL524567
Learning Disabilities: Teaching and Reaching All Learners.
Barnett, Harriet; Jarvis-Sladky, Kay
Hispania, v78 n1 p163-66 Mar 1995
ISSN: 0018-2133
Language: English
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 Methods

ED355834 FL021144
Foreign Language Requirements and Students with Learning Disabilities. ERIC Digest.
Barr, Vickie
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.
Language: English
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

EJ450071 EC603791
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
Sum 1992
ISSN: 0938-8982
Language: English
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 processes.
Descriptors: College Students; *Educational Diagnosis; Handicap Identification; Higher Education; *Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; Models; *Second Language Instruction; *Second Language Learning; Staff Role; Student Evaluation

EJ455880 EC604906
Use of an Orton-Gillingham Approach to Teach a Foreign Language to Dyslexic/Learning-Disabled Students: Explicit Teaching of Phonology in a Second Language.
Sparks, Richard L.; And Others
Annals of Dyslexia, v41 p96-118 1991
ISSN: 0736-9387
Language: English
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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