If it is true that over 10 % of all people show signs of dyslexia (1), you as language teachers are likely to have some students in your classes who are dyslexic at various levels. These students do not need special education, but they do need teachers who have the right skills and attitude towards them.
The course is designed for primary or secondary school language teachers working in mainstream education who feel like they may not have the right professional skills to accommodate dyslexic students in their lessons or would like to get better results at teaching such students.
Teachers who are interested in inclusive education, and wish to promote a more understanding attitude towards dyslexia at any level of education, are also welcome.
The course is experience-based, so after clarifying some basic concepts, participants will try out and work with teaching ideas that may be helpful for dyslexic students in their groups. These techniques include all the main areas of language teaching, like teaching vocabulary, grammar, or the four skills.
Participants will also work on their own feelings and possible prejudice towards people with dyslexia, in response to understanding how much a teacher’s attitude might influence success.
Apart from building a positive attitude and a rich toolkit for the classroom, participants will work together to assess current coursebooks from a dyslexic student’s perspective.
They will adapt coursebook tasks to make these approachable for their classrooms, present their plans, and give feedback to one another so that each participant takes away ready-made classroom ideas developed during the course.
They will also be able to justify their renewed professional practice when talking to parents, colleagues, school management, and the students themselves to develop a more inclusive school culture.
The course will help the participants to:
- Differentiate between truths and some wide-spread myths in connection with dyslexia;
- Define some basic concepts in connection with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia;
- Describe learning situations from the perspective of a dyslexic person;
- Identify possible signs (both strengths and weaknesses) of dyslexia in their classrooms;
- Build a toolkit of practical teaching ideas for all areas of language learning to help dyslexic language learners;
- Analyze current coursebook units to identify what accommodations need to be made;
- Adapt coursebook tasks to suit a group of learners with dyslexic students among them.
Day 1 – Dyslexia: an Introduction
- Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
- Group building, mapping out previous experience in the topic;
- Basic concepts, truths and myths;
- Educational policies in the participants’ context;
- Integration vs. inclusion.
Day 2 – The perspective of a dyslexic learner
- Phonological and orthographical awareness;
- Teaching vocabulary (pronunciation, spelling, phonics);
- Using the board, visuals and other teaching aids.
Day 3 – Teaching the four language skills
- Coursebook evaluation, taking a dyslexic perspective.
Day 4 – Teaching grammar
- Evaluation of dyslexic students;
- Small group project for making dyslexic-friendly teaching materials.
Day 5 – Working with case studies
- Future plans for better understanding own students;
- Building a dyslexia-friendly school culture, role plays;
- Presentation and feedback on the shared teaching materials.
Day 6 – Excursion & course closure
- Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
- Excursion and other external cultural activities.
Sources: (1) Moats, L. C. (2014, February 23). LETRS certified trainers – Dyslexia 101: Myths and realities – 20140203 2101-1.