D. Peppoloni

University for Foreigners of Siena (ITALY)
This study intends to promote the acquisition of linguistic knowledge in dyslexic academic students in an innovative and multidisciplinary way, interfacing the potential of an integrated theatrical didactics together with the recent acquisitions and tools offered by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

This method has been conceived to overcome the most common problems related to the acquisition of oral skills in second language learning. The main idea is to challenge some long lasting and deeply rooted prejudices or pedagogical mistakes: the confusion between “language competence” and “communicative competence”, the separation in language learning between verbal codes and non-verbal codes, the overvaluation of written work and grammar study, the undervaluation of an active role of the students in the learning process, the lack of creativity and use of imagination in many class activities, the inadequate self-motivation of many students who fail to reach the expected objectives. Teaching a second or foreign language through a multisensory approach is a way to overcome these problems through a holistic approach to language learning in which “mind” and “body” are both fully involved as it happens in any real communication situation. The pedagogical assumptions of the method can be summarized in the formula of a communicative approach with a humanistic-affective orientation.

Multisensory approaches and multimedia materials seem to be effective work-keys, when addressed to dyslexic students involved in the study of a second language, in our case the Italian; this is especially true when we confront with adult dyslexics, in which the emotional filter, due to the awareness of their disorder is significantly higher. Theatre as a method to transfer and exchange knowledge with the teacher, and ICT as a tool for the strengthening and the consolidation of concepts through self-study time, are considered to be innovative techniques in the context of foreign language teaching to college dyslexic students.The expected results are on the one hand an increased degree of satisfaction and competence on the part of the students involved in the project, on the other the development of an alternative and peculiar method developed specifically to their needs and, finally, the creation of technological tools that reinforce their achievements, pointing on the benefits of self-study. In short, through effective compensatory measures, we aim at providing college dyslexic students repeatable mechanisms of linguistic and communicative knowledge acquisition, which can be then put in place and reused in different learning opportunities, making this kind of learners self-confident and enabling them to build their own set of skills in an autonomous way.

The original challenge of this study is just to find alternative techniques, taken from different fields of knowledge, starting from theatre to arrive to computer applications, that combined together in an innovative pedagogy, can promote a multisensory approach to the study of language giving to dyslexic students reusable strategies to acquire knowledge all life-long. Multidisciplinary is a key-element in this study, because its complex approach to the disorder of dyslexia requires an osmosis of different kind of knowledge, expertise and methodologies to find the right application.