A Few Reflections on Specific Learning Disorders and Foreign Language Teaching in Italian Secondary Schools

Silvia Panicieri


Foreign language study is an increasingly important part of education everywhere. In Italian primary and secondary schools the teaching of a second language, in particular of English, has been made compulsory with Decreto Legislativo 59 (2004). English is now taught at any level, from Infantry (optional) to Secondary Schools. Furthermore, according to the so called “Gelmini Law” (2010), which transposes a European directive, all students in the final year of secondary schools are required to learn a discipline in a foreign language, according to the CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) syllabus. Starting from the observation that the Italian educational system is based on mixed-level/mixed-ability classes, where the principle of inclusiveness is fully applied, the paper reflects on nowadays teachers, who must face in any class the presence of one or more students with a diagnosis of Specific Learning Disorder (In Italian DSA), sometimes combined with an ADHD diagnosis. Therefore, all the teachers are involved in first person and after the implementation of “Law 170” (2010), they have to receive adequate training to recognize and treat these learning disorders. While it has long been agreed that the study of a foreign language is a great challenge to disabled students, this fact has long been generally ignored in the field of foreign language instruction until very recently. Current technologies are undoubtedly effective classroom supports for language teaching activities, while teachers, parents and schools must cooperate to create tailored plans to help students become successful learners. Starting from the writer’s personal experience in the teaching of English in Italian secondary schools, the article examines the educational approach and some of the latest methodologies implemented in a today’s Italian class.  

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2015.i5.266


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