NeMLA, 21-24 March 2018, Washington, DC:
Despite recent efforts and theories in the emerging disability studies, the actual classroom situation for foreign language and literature instructors in higher education for students with disabilities is not yet based on general concepts and shared practices or tested and trusted technology. Still, many instructors and students resort to time-consuming and exhausting trial and error to find their preferred learning modes or rely on the respective Office of Disability’s experience when attempting to determine best methods, tasks, and teaching approaches to serve everyone to the best of their abilities.
What seems to be needed is a more open discussion and sharing of concrete information to serve our students well and render us better instructors for all.
Therefore, this roundtable discussion seeks to attract instructors of foreign languages who are willing to share their experiences, learning curves, successes, and failures, reflections, teaching materials, concrete examples, in short, their best inclusive practices for students with various disabilities.
Multimodality addresses all students’ different learning styles, preferred learning modes and channels more than training the individual skills in a communicatively unnatural isolation. Presenting material in potentially as many formats as possible and giving learners tasks that address more than one of the four skills (i.e. ideally all four – listening, reading, writing, speaking – simultaneously) might be the common ground for our various needs and efforts to support all of our students. This might include such simple exercises as having students dictate to each other rather than conducting short writing excises, but might also comprise complex undertakings such as finding accessible textbooks and literature (e.g. comic books that are accessible to students with visual disabilities).
Contributions that enhance teaching practices for a truly inclusive foreign language and literature classroom are welcome.
Despite recent efforts and theories in disability studies, the classroom situation for foreign language and literature instructors for students with disabilities is not yet based on general concepts, shared practices, or trusted technology. Many instructors resort to time-consuming trial and error to find their preferred learning modes or rely on the Office of Disability’s experience when attempting to determine the best methods, tasks, and teaching approaches. Papers that discuss teaching practices for a truly inclusive foreign language and literature classroom are welcome.
Mona Eikel-Pohen, Ph.D., Lecturer in German, Syracuse University