Country Studied: Cyprus
Area of Focus: Mother tongue interference and dyslexia
The Curriculum for Greek as a Second Language aims to facilitate and support the educational work by offering guidance on teaching intelligible presentation of theories related to the teaching of a second language and provides some basic supplies to teachers for detecting the possibility of dyslexia and to guide parents/guardians in search of a meaningful diagnosis and supportive help.
This good practice reflects the collaboration of Democritus University of Thrace in Greece and the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, aiming at developing a guide and Curriculum dedicated to learners with dyslexia who are learning Greek as their second language.
The good practice intends to ensure the smooth integration dyslectic learners in schools, and assist teachers in getting familiarized with their needs. It took place on 2020.
The Curriculum is addressed to school teachers/educators dealing with migrant dyslectic learners of primary and secondary education.
No, but the inability to distinguish the language difficulties related to the language learning of a second language and/or the manifestation of a neurobiological deficit is reflected in the Best Practice.
Mitsiaki, M. (2020). Αναλυτικό Πρόγραμμα Σπουδών για την Ελληνική ως Δεύτερη Γλώσσα (Προδημοτική, Δημοτική, Μέση Γενική, Μέση Τεχνική και Eπαγγελματική Εκπαίδευση και Κατάρτιση της Κύπρου). Retrieved 5 March 2021, from http://www.moec.gov.cy/dde/diapolitismiki/analytiko_programma/analytiko_programma_spoudon.pdf
Special Learning Disability: Dyslexia. (2021). Retrieved 5 March 2021, from http://www.moec.gov.cy/eidiki_ekpaidefsi/ekpaideftiko_yliko/dimotiki_mesi/dyslexia_booklet.pdf
This practice is to understand that often learners reduced skills are over-recognized or under-recognized in relation to the possible existence of dyslexia. The expected difficulties of the learners in learning a second language are interpreted as signs of dyslexia, while in the second the deficits of phonemic awareness, indicative of possible dyslexia, are attributed to the interference of the mother tongue.
Both, the coding skills (i.e., the production of speech in oral and written form) and the decoding skills (i.e., the reading and comprehension of written speech but also the auditory perception and comprehension of oral for example), need a focused teaching strategy in the case of dyslexic learners. Language processing also involves a number of cognitive processes related to attention, memory, reasoning, planning, problem solving, comprehension and speech production and areas which are considered particularly important for language learning and in which dyslexia affects. Reading and writing, auditory comprehension and spelling, comprehension and production of written and oral speech are some of the difficulties these people are facing when learning a second language.
Educators in the learning process are transformed into co-designers, providing valuable material for:
- The design of early, timely and focused detection of learners’ difficulties (diagnostic tools and diagnostic procedures), especially in relation to reading and writing, which leads to more effective teaching intervention, reducing stress and enhancing it self-confidence, autonomy and motivation of learners
- The weighting of the diagnostic tools based on the needs of each cultural group and not the faithful rendering in Greek of the tools that have been prepared for monolingual learners of western culture
- The formation of a dynamic assessment and diagnosis of thinking skills of students in combination with their cultural values, implemented in different types of learning contexts, e.g., tests, parent reports, teacher observations, etc.
Some myths concerning helpful signs of dyslexia in emerging bilinguals are slow reading rate, have increased vocabulary but still make a lot of spelling mistakes, slow pace of work compared to peers, inability in recognizing common frequently used words, etc.