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» 3. Supporting ESOL learners with learning difficulties or disabilities

3. Supporting ESOL learners with learning difficulties or disabilities

As teachers it is part of our role to recognise and cater for all forms of diversity. This module explores how to adjust the learning environment and teaching methods to include learners with learning difficulties and disabilities

There are two interactive units in this module:

It is recommended that you do the units together with colleagues so you can reflect and discuss the ideas together. They can be found on the links at the bottom of this page.

Further information

Our approaches are informed by a small but growing body of research and developing methodology which you can explore further:

  • ESOL Access for All Part 1 and Part 2 were developed to support inclusive learning for bilingual learners with learning difficulties or disabilities. It highlights issues that are particularly relevant to ESOL learners and teachers. It is intended as a working document for you to use to support your planning, teaching and understanding.
  • Dystefl, provides training courses for teachers, including a self-study course covering all aspects of dyslexia including classroom techniques 
  • Identifying and working with dyslexic students - workshop on how to identify and work with learners with dyslexia from the British Council's English Agenda website
  • The Dyslexia Starter Kit  from the Excellence Gateway has a lot of links to useful information
  • ELTwell is a site from Anne Margaret Smith which gives examples of research and resources related to ESOL and dyslexia. Further resources are available to purchase
  • Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching is a Free online course (MOOC) from Lancaster University which looks at related issues and gives professional advice.


Kormos, Judit & Smith, Anne Margaret Teaching Languages to Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (Multilingual Matters: 2012). 


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