Teaching English as a Foreign Language Online: How to Deal with Students’ Special Needs

Proceedings of the 6th International Academic Conference on Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2023



Teaching English as a Foreign Language Online: How to Deal with Students’ Special Needs

Maria Antonietta Marongiu




This work is concerned with the academic progress of students with learning difficulties who are studying English as a Foreign language (EFL), and focuses on the development of their spelling, reading and writing skills. A number of research papers have addressed learning disorders that condition language learning and examined how foreign languages can be taught so as to offer the best learning opportunities to students with such difficulties. Much research has focused solely on aspects relating to the developmental age range of the learners, often disregarding the difficulties of more adult students. In reality, learning difficulties in higher education can hinder progress in academic development and thus the achievement of educational and professional goals. This consideration leads us to the main theme of this work, i.e. how to address the special needs of university students taking EFL online courses during the Covid 19 pandemic and in the post-Covid era, and how to boost their learning processes in virtual education contexts. The issue will be explored from a methodological point of view as well as from a more practical perspective. A selection of teaching materials and teaching strategies will be presented and analysed to show how they were experimentally used in EFL academic courses to foster language learning in online classes with special needs students. A short discussion aiming at evaluating their methodological efficacy will be followed by closing remarks.

keywords: classroom management, e-learning; on-line higher education, teaching materials, teaching methodology