Fostering autonomy in learners with special needs: a specialized e-learning course

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This publication doesn't include Faculty of Arts. It includes Support Centre for Students with Special Needs. Official publication website can be found on muni.cz.

Authors

TÓTHOVÁ Lenka SEDLÁČKOVÁ Jitka

Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Support Centre for Students with Special Needs

Citation
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Description In the context of a complex and rapidly changing educational environment, international engagement has become a priority and is regarded as a means to improve the quality of education and the future social and professional success of the students. Some of the internationalization strategies may, however, pose a major challenge for some higher education students. One of the vulnerable groups are learners with special needs, and particularly, deaf and hard of hearing students. This group of learners is limited in the chances to interact in spoken/written foreign languages and the learning opportunities they can join (Sedláčková & Kontra, in press). This, by extension, has an unfavourable impact on this group's possibilities of engaging in study stays abroad, which is an area where the learners with hearing loss are heavily underrepresented. Based on the experience with the newly launched e-learning course Online English for International Mobilities the present paper discusses the need for building effective FL learning strategies in deaf and hard of hearing students in connection to the process of academic internationalization. The presenters argue for the need to foster the students' autonomy as FL learners, which would lead to reducing their teacher dependency and reliance on directed learning, encouraging them take responsibility for their own learning. The applied approach to foster these skills will be practically exemplified. Secondly, the paper provides a comparison of two pilot runs of the course from the point of view of (online) classroom dynamics and cooperation. While the course is built to be as autonomous as possible and benefits from the advantages of the e-learning format, great importance is given to group dynamics and cooperation via discussion fora and online chats. It also takes advantage of the considerable benefits of individualized and personalized feedback provided by the teachers on selected assignments.

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