Call for Papers: Teaching EFL/ESL Students with Specific Learning Difficulties


Vol. 12, Issue 4 (Year 2022)

Issue Editors: Karmen Pižorn and Milena Košak Babuder

Various European Commission policy documents highlight the importance of pluri/multilingual education and provide a number of arguments for such a policy; for example, (1) individuals who learn more languages have better personal and professional opportunities, (2) multilingual societies foster cultural awareness, mutual understanding and social cohesion, and (3) multilingual workers with intercultural competences are a vital resource for helping businesses succeed and grow in global markets (European Commission, 2012). The language that is most taught and assessed as a first foreign language is English: 97% of all young Europeans study English as a first foreign language. Eurydice reports that, in almost all European countries, English is the foreign language learnt by most students during primary and secondary education. It is also a mandatory foreign language in nearly all education systems that stipulate a particular foreign language that all students must study (Eurydice, 2017).


However, when it comes to measuring foreign language competences of secondary school students,  the European Survey on Language Competences (2012), which assessed English as a first foreign language (EFL) in 13 out of 16 education systems, revealed that only 42% of the tested pupils overall reached the level of independent user in the first foreign language (B1 level). This means that, after several years of studying a language in school, the majority of young Europeans cannot hold a simple conversation in the language they have studied (European Commission, 2012). One of the potential reasons for such a poor result might be that some of the students may find learning English particularly difficult because of their inherent, physiological characteristics. These students are commonly defined as students with specific learning difficulties, and they have only recently come to the attention of EFL researchers (Kormos, 2017; Kormos, Kosak-Babuder, & Pižorn, 2018; Nijakowska & Kormos, 2015).

Kormos argues that, although the cognitive factors that influence processes of second language (L2) development have been widely researched, the language learning processes of students with specific learning difficulties have received little attention (Kormos, 2017). Despite the fact that statistics show that one out of ten students might potentially have some form of learning difficulty, (language) teacher education programmes still devote very little attention to enhancing (language) teachers’ competences in teaching students with specific learning difficulties. To support students with specific learning difficulties who learn English as a second/foreign language, all stakeholders involved in language learning/acquisition (preschool teachers, primary teachers, head teachers, teacher trainers, researchers, decision makers, etc.) need to understand how individual differences in cognitive functioning influence second/foreign language acquisition in these students.


In this context, we invite authors to investigate the learning and teaching of students with specific learning difficulties in both school and out-of-school contexts where English is taught/used as a second/foreign language. More specifically, this special issue welcomes articles that discuss the following issues/questions:

  • Memory difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Organisational difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Writing difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Visual processing difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Reading difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Auditory processing difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Time management difficulties and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Sensory distractions and learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Identification of specific learning difficulties in learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Classroom accommodations for foreign/second language learners with specific learning difficulties
  • Specific learning difficulties and developing phonological and orthographic awareness in learning/teaching ESL/EFL
  • Specific learning difficulties and teaching vocabulary and grammar in the ESL/EFL context
  • Specific learning difficulties and teaching listening and speaking in the ESL/EFL context
  • Specific learning difficulties and teaching reading and writing in the ESL/EFL context
  • Assessment of ESL/EFL learners with specific learning difficulties
  • ESL/EFL teachers’ competences in teaching students with specific learning difficulties
  • Inclusive policies in English language education
  • Etc.


Article submission timeline:

30 June 2021: submission of paper title and abstract with up to five keywords [250 words max.]

30 March 2022: paper submission [between 5,000 and 7,000 words]

December 2022: publication of the focus issue of the CEPS journal


Please send the abstract to clearly stating the title of the focus issue.


Manuscripts should be from 5,000 to 7,000 words long, including the abstract and reference list. They should be written in UK English. Submissions should be no more than 20 pages in length, and should be original and unpublished work not currently under review by another journal or publisher.


When preparing the manuscript, please follow our guidelines, which are available here: