University of Łódź (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 2598-2603
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The paper discusses one of the major outcomes of the EU multilateral project ‘DysTEFL – Dyslexia for teachers of English as a foreign language’ (the European Language Label 2014 winner), namely, the findings from the analysis of the EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers’ professional training needs on dyslexia. The primary aim of the study was to investigate how the EFL pre- and in-service teachers perceive and evaluate their knowledge of dyslexia, their experience with dyslexic foreign language learners as well as their overall confidence in teaching such individuals. In addition, the study aimed at identifying the EFL pre-service and in-service teachers’ needs and preferences with regard to training, including its format and content, which would equip them with the necessary knowledge about dyslexia and skills to work with dyslexic learners.

The study was conducted among the pre- and in-service EFL teachers from several European countries. Data was collected with the use of the online survey from over 400 respondents. Respondents admitted that the teacher training concerning inclusive practices towards dyslexic foreign language learners they underwent did not sufficiently equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully include these learners in the mainstream classrooms. They perceived their competence with regard to accommodating individual special needs of dyslexic language learners as rather poor. No statistically significant differences were observed between four groups of teachers with varying teaching experience with regard to their questionnaire responses with one exception only. Namely, the least experienced respondents considerably differed from the most experienced teachers in that they reported to have been provided with more relevant training on the theoretical aspects of dyslexia during their studies than their more experienced colleagues. The country where respondents taught or studied to teach influenced their questionnaire responses. In some countries the issues concerning inclusive education and accommodating special learning needs of all students, including dyslexic foreign language learners, were covered during their teacher training, while the training schemes in other countries did not seem to devote sufficient attention to these issues. Still, great majority of respondents acknowledged the existence of the apparent gap in their training concerning this issue and expressed a well-defined need and interest in further professional development in this respect. In addition, they voiced their opinion and preferences as to the format, content matter as well as types of tasks and activities they would find most favourable in the training materials/course on the EFL and dyslexia.

In response to the professional training needs articulated by the teachers, the tailor-made DysTEFL course was designed by the project consortium.
DysTEFL, teacher training, needs analysis, foreign language.