Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Multisensory Structured Metacognitive Foreign Language – A Solution for Students with Learning Disabilities

Prof. Irene Konyndyk.

One challenge for foreign language educators is how to meet the needs of ALL students – especially students with learning disabilities, who have difficulty learning in the context of today’s communicative approach. This paper will argue that it is imperative to find a way to meet the needs of these students. Everyone has had students in class who, for one reason or another, struggle mightily. It is very possible that these students have some kind of learning disability, which impedes their learning. In the last 10 years, more and more students with documented learning disabilities have been entering our institutions. Many countries have federal mandates which require institutions to offer instruction in a way that provides a level playing field for all students who meet the criteria for admission. This, in itself, is a powerful reason to examine our methods of instruction. As foreign language educators, however, we should be in the forefront of providing alternative instructional methods because we believe that foreign language learning, as part of the humanities, is important to higher education. This paper will demonstrate an alternative teaching method which is multisensory, structured, and has a strong metacognitive component.


Prof. Irene Konyndyk  (United States)
Assistant Professor and Director of Cross-cultural Engagement
French Department
Calvin College

Born in the Netherlands, raised in Canada, and newly an American citizen, Professor Konyndyk has taught German, Dutch and French at Calvin College since 1977. She spent many years teaching foreign language pedagogy to aspiring teachers. Her most recent academic interest is foreign language learning and learning disabilities and she has developed a 3-course sequence in French for students who struggle to learn a foreign language. In addition to her teaching duties, she is also Director of Cross-cultural Engagement at Calvin.

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Foreign Language
  • Multisensory
  • Metacognitive

(60 min. Workshop, English)