What Support is Available for Students Learning a Foreign Language at School?

Students with language learning difficulties can benefit from instructional modifications when learning a foreign language at school. These modifications can help them develop confidence in the target language. However, many students struggle to learn a new language system, even if they are not classified as dyslexic or having learning problems. Just as there are some students who have strengths in mathematics, science, or any other discipline, some students have particular strengths in language learning.

There is a great variability in the success of people when it comes to studying a foreign language in the school environment. Because some students classified as dyslexic or with learning disabilities (LD) and those who are not classified as dyslexic or LD generally show similar difficulties and difficulties with the foreign language, these students are sometimes referred to as at risk. Foreign language teachers are not usually trained to identify specific learning needs, nor to provide specific accommodations. Their training may have emphasized full-language-like strategies for learning in class and evaluating the four language areas of the foreign language: oral communication, language laboratory practice with listening tapes, and computer-assisted learning. These instructional methods may be useful for the ideal student without language processing issues, but they are often harmful to the student at risk, who may need a more systematic, structured, and multisensory approach. The study of a foreign language is increasingly important in our global economy and our multilingual society.

Many at-risk students can take advantage of the benefits of studying a foreign language in the right learning environment. Unfortunately, that environment may not be available. In some high schools, colleges and universities in the United States, another option is to replace the foreign language requirement with culture courses. In general, to receive accommodations, the student must be classified as having a learning disability. Some schools may accept a history of failure in foreign language courses.

Schools that offer options generally include a statement in their governance document; as an alternative, the student can talk to the school's learning assistance specialist. Students who have difficulties in one or more of the language systems (reading, writing (especially spelling and grammar), listening and speaking) may have problems learning a foreign language at school. This regularity can range from very regular languages, in which a single sound is represented by a single letter (for example, Italian) to very complex languages, where a letter can represent several sounds and a sound can be represented by several different letters (for example, English).Later, in studying a foreign language, they can do well in the first semester or year of learning a foreign language because sentence structures are relatively simple and the vocabulary focuses on specific topics related to life. Examine the hypothesis of linguistic coding differences to explain individual differences in foreign language learning. The students who seem to have the most difficulties are those who have had moderate to severe reading and spelling difficulties in their native language in their first years of schooling and are now required to study another language at school. According to the guidelines of the American Council for Foreign Language Teaching (ACTFL), studying a foreign language is recommended for all students at all skill levels (ACTFL, 2000).In this situation, it is useful to provide letters of support from foreign language teachers, as well as documentation of the effort made.

Students who struggle in most or all of the four language systems are likely to have more trouble learning a foreign language, especially in traditional language classrooms. However, nowadays studying another language at school is often a requirement for graduating from high school, and more and more colleges and universities require a minimum of two years of a foreign language before graduating, especially for students who specialize in science programs (Brod & Welles, 2000).Students who have moderate to severe language learning difficulties may need more intensive instruction than that provided in the general foreign language classroom. It also provides teacher training on multisensory structured language teaching to native, foreign and second language students in public and private schools both nationally and internationally. Often these students are classified as people with dyslexia or language learning problems; sometimes they are not classified but nevertheless they have considerable difficulty meeting the foreign language requirement.

Wallace Bawden
Wallace Bawden

Subtly charming twitter scholar. Total web aficionado. Incurable food scholar. Passionate coffeeaholic. Avid food lover. General tv fanatic.

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