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Book supporting dyslexic learners wins prize

A handbook to help ELT instructors support dyslexic learners in the classroom has taken out the recent Ben Warren-International House Trust Prize, which recognises most outstanding work in the field of language teacher education.

The award-winning book aims to help language teachers overcome some issues students with learning difficulties could have. Photo: Oxford University Press

Daloiso said learners with dyslexia currently represented 5-10% of school populations

Supporting Learners with Dyslexia in the Classroom, written by Michele Daloiso and published by Oxford University Press, combines theoretical research and practical experience on dyslexia to provide a best practice guide for teachers.

“Recent years have seen an increased awareness of the presence of students with dyslexia in our schools”

“Recent years have seen an increased awareness of the presence of students with dyslexia in our schools,” Daloiso said.

“Learning English can be very challenging for [dyslexic] students because their learning difference clashes with a number of additional barriers that may be present in the classroom due to inappropriate teaching methods.”

Daloiso said many of the difficulties observed of those with dyslexia were just the “tip of the iceberg”, and learners experienced many more barriers to working memory, phonological processing and processing speed.

“These features of dyslexia can have an impact while learning a foreign language, for instance in memorising a new word, or trying to understand a text, or in speaking,” he said.

Speaking with The PIE News, Daloiso said he was inspired to research the topic after a personal experience with an ELT learner.

“While I was studying for my PhD in Educational Linguistics, one day, after a class, a student approached me and said:’I am dyslexic, so I can’t learn English. Is this course compulsory?’ I didn’t even know what dyslexia was,” he said.

“As a researcher, I was curious about what the student had said: Is it true that learners with dyslexia aren’t capable of learning a foreign language?

“If so, what am I supposed to do as a language instructor?”

He added that learners with dyslexia currently represented 5-10% of school populations and that better understanding their needs helped educators to deliver a fundamental human right.

On receiving the award, Daloiso said it “went beyond any expectation”.

“I am honoured and happy that such an important recognition went to a book about inclusive education.”

A recent report from The PIE revealed that many international students with disabilities are blocked from entering Australia, and Ireland released a report in early 2018 calling for higher outbound mobility for those with a disability.

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