13 January 2016 13:14

A new free online course, organised by linguists at Lancaster University, looking at dyslexia and other learning differences, is back by popular demand.

The course, designed for current and trainee teachers of additional languages, offers practical tools, as well as theoretical insights, to accommodate and meet the needs of students with dyslexia in foreign or second language classes.

This is the second course of its kind, run in conjunction with FutureLearn, with 18,000 people signing up for the first course and, already, 8,000 people expressing interest in the second, which starts on April 18th. The first run of the course was highly successful with the active participation of 9,000 teachers, dyslexia advisors, special education experts, dyslexic language learners and their parents from all over the world.

Enrolment on the course, which gives an up-to-date overview of current theoretical knowledge about the nature of dyslexia and how it affects the learning of additional languages, has just opened.

Participants will learn about a variety of useful techniques, including recent computer-assisted tools, which they can take into the classroom, to help students with dyslexia in acquiring another language.

Practical guidance and advice is also provided on enhancing the phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge and reading skills of dyslexic language learners.

This course is designed for professional language teachers, secondary school teachers, undergraduates, postgraduates and anyone with an interest in dyslexia and language learning.

Course tutor Professor Judit Kormos from the University’s Department of Linguistics and English Language said: “Although dyslexia means reading difficulty, it doesn't only affect reading but also other areas of academic performance including the learning of additional languages.

This is why the responsibility of foreign language teachers is high, because the real nature of this learning difference might only become apparent when one is trying to learn another language.

Approximately 10% of people have a dyslexic-type learning difference, which means that in a class of 10 students it is likely that at least one student will be dyslexic.

“Yet teacher education in general and language teacher education in particular rarely prepares educators for working with dyslexic students. This course aims to fill this gap and will equip language teachers with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical tools to meet the needs of dyslexic language learners in foreign language classrooms.”

Sharon Turner, a MOOC student now studying in a distance learning MA programme in Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages at Lancaster said: “It's one of the best and most thorough short-courses on dyslexia I have ever seen.”

To sign up please go to https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/dyslexia/2