Meeting the Needs of Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties in Online and Face-to-Face Language Classrooms: Teacher Beliefs and Practices

  • Oksana Afitska Lancaster University, UK
  • Nur Ehsan Mohd Said Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Keywords: second language learning, online teaching and learning, assessment, instructional accommodations, specific learning difficulties, teacher beliefs and practice


Drawing on communities of practice and social cognitive learning theories, this paper explores language teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and practices concerning the provision of high-quality education to learners with specific learning difficulties in various educational settings around the world. The data sample for this paper comprises qualitative data (video-recorded interviews and teaching resources) collected from six teachers working across various educational settings (primary, secondary, college and university) across several geographical areas (Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia). Thematic analysis was adopted to analyse the data. The findings suggest that teachers continue to experience challenges in educating learners with specific learning difficulties regardless of the educational setting. Limited opportunities for receiving specialised training in this area have been identified by several teachers as one of the key factors affecting the quality of their practice. The change in the mode of instruction from face-to-face to online was not always reported as negatively affecting the quality of educational provision to learners with specific learning difficulties. Technology-assisted online lesson delivery was seen as being advantageous to learners with some types of learning difficulties. Findings from this paper can be useful to teacher-practitioners and teacher-educators who are interested in improving the quality of language education for learners with specific learning difficulties.


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