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A Cross-Departmental Approach to Supporting Students with a Disability Affecting Foreign Language Acquisition

Franziska Lys / Alison May / Jeanne Ravid
Published Online: 2014-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjes-2014-0019


In order to enhance mobility, competitiveness, and opportunities for work, the European Union lists the ability to communicate in a foreign language and to understand another culture as an important objective in their language education policy. Knowledge of a foreign language is also an important objective for many American universities, which require students to study a foreign language as a prerequisite to graduate. Students with documented disabilities affecting the learning of a foreign language or students with poor foreign language learning skills, therefore, pose a significant challenge, since a foreign language requirement may prevent such students from graduating unless universities are willing to make special arrangements such as having students graduate without fulfilling the requirement or letting them take substitution classes. The question of what to do with such students is at the heart of this article. It describes how one mid-sized private university with a two-year language proficiency requirement has approached the problem to ensure that policies are implemented fairly. Rather than pulling students out of the foreign language classroom, the university succeeded in keeping students engaged with foreign language study through advising and mentoring across departments

Keywords: Foreign language proficiency; foreign language learning disability; disability; foreign language waiver; foreign language acquisition; academic advising


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-09-25

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: Prague Journal of English Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 85–111, ISSN (Online) 2336-2685, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjes-2014-0019.

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© Faculty of Education, Charles University. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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