Dyslexia and english as a foreign language in norwegian elementary education: A mixed methodsiIntervention study
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The current study is situated in the field of English didactics. It is also a special educational study, because it investigates the effect of specific ways of teaching learners with dyslexia, a literacy-related neurodevelopmental specific learning difficulty. This study was performed in a Norwegian elementary school, as a single group intervention study that targeted spelling difficulties, because this is the most resilient difficulty amongst the range of difficulties that dyslexic learners experience. The main objective of the study was to investigate the effect that multisensory techniques have on spelling skills for Norwegian dyslexic 5th to 6th grade students. A secondary objective entailed examining the emotional and motivational effect of the multisensory spelling intervention. The participants of the study included a special education teacher, five dyslexic students from 5th and 6th grade and an individual with AD/HD. The intervention was designed by the current researcher and executed by the special education teacher at the school. To answer the research questions quantitative data in the form of spelling tests was administered prior to and after the intervention in a mixed methods pre-test/post-test design. This was done to observe any development in spelling skills after the intervention. During the intervention, qualitative observation notes were recorded. The students also responded to a questionnaire after the intervention. Finally, the special education teacher was interviewed approximately a month after the post-test was administered. The research findings revealed that the intervention was successful. The group overall exhibited a 6.2 statistically significant difference in mean scores between the pre- and post-test. Quite interestingly, the individual scores were quite dispersed. One of the dyslexic 5th grade students displayed a 180% increase. Another dyslexic 5th grade student surpassed the mean of her non-dyslexic classmates. Three of the five dyslexic learners exhibited comorbidities, which appeared to have an impact on the effectiveness of the intervention. This is in line with prior research. Although some students did not progress as significantly as others, all students reported gains in their motivation and improvements in attitude towards learning English. Finally, the special education teacher corroborated the quantitative findings and also reported gains in motivation for each student. Although the sample size is small and by no means a representation of the entire population of dyslexic students, the results are consistent with prior findings of other related studies. Thus, the results are valid and support a further inquiry into the effectiveness of specific English didactics on the language proficiency for dyslexic EFL learners.
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