An Exploration of EFL Teachers’ Experience with Learning Disability Training




EFL teachers, teacher, learning disabilities, learning disability training, learning disability identification, learning disability accommodation.


Exploración de la experiencia de los profesores de inglés como lengua extranjera con formación en dificultades de aprendizaje

Exploração da experiência dos professores de inglês como língua estrangeira com treinamento em dificuldades de aprendizagem

Approximately ten percent of learners have some sort of learning disability. This means that all English language instructors will encounter students with learning disabilities and could encounter students with learning disabilities in each class. Research has shown that different countries have varying degrees of infrastructure for identifying and accommodating learning disabilities. However, little research on the degree to which English language teachers in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts have received training for learning disabilities has been carried out. This study had three goals: first, to identify whether the participants in the study, all of whom were EFL instructors, had received training for identifying and accommodating students with learning disabilities; second, among the teachers who had received training, to find out specifically the types of training they had received; and finally, to find out whether training had helped these teachers develop competence in assisting students with learning disabilities. The data were collected through a survey of past and current EFL teachers. Overall, the findings revealed that the majority of English language teachers surveyed had little to no training for accommodating learning disabilities, and the majority indicated that they did not feel confident assisting students with learning disabilities. Recommendations from this study include creating greater awareness for identifying and accommodating learning disabilities in EFL contexts among administrators and teachers as well as suggestions for EFL teachers to improve their knowledge of learning disabilities independently.

To reference this article (APA) / Para citar este artículo (APA) / Para citar este artigo (APA)

Sowell, J. & Sugisaki, L. (2020). An exploration of EFL teachers’ experience with learning disability training. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 13(1), 114-134.

Received: 26/09/2019

Accepted: 18/02/2020

Published: 28/08/2020

Author Biographies

Jimalee Sowell, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Jimalee Sowell is a Ph.D. candidate in the English department at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include teaching writing in large, multilevel classes, teacher identity, learning disabilities, and teacher education.

Larry Sugisaki, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Larry Sugisaki is a temporary faculty member in the English department at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include disability and writing center studies, as well as multilingual speaker identity construction and translingualism. 


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