English skills for persons with learning difficulties

GNW - Gauges North West
Country of Implementation
Central and Eastern Europe

The GNW-SupEFL online portal assists persons with specific learning difficulties in acquiring critical language skills in English. People with learning disabilities from six countries and EFL language teachers contribute to the design of the courses. The portal is available free of charge to people with special learning difficulties.

Solution details


“You don’t have to wait for others, for specialists or for teachers, because the self-help methods give you the freedom of learning in your own way, with your own material and self-confidence.” Ms. Eva Gyarmathy, Head of Project

Problems Targeted

The study of a foreign language is becoming increasingly important in a multilingual world, and the command of English is widely considered a key requirement for equal opportunities in education, in the workplace, and for life in general. The exclusion of special learners from EFL classes has been widely recognised, and educational policy in many countries is increasingly reflecting this. Yet EFL teachers and institutions cannot fully meet special learners’ needs. For this reason, special learners should also be supported by self-help methods, giving them greater autonomous control of the language-learning process.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The project serves the need for an open educational portal that special learners can access on their own (or by referral from their teacher) to get help and support. The self-study programme includes seven web-based modules – one each on reading, writing, speaking, listening, memory, motivation, and learning in general. Each module is considered an individual course, and a learner may complete as many modules as he or she chooses. The modules provide special learners with specific tools and techniques to improve their skills and overall competence in the specific area(s) in which they are weakest. The results of other projects aimed at the development of assistive technology (e.g., Robo Braille) will be used as important resources for this project as well.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

After the first trials of the training, there will be more training courses, more advertising of the materials on the websites, and an attempt to approach universities and educational policymakers to promote the methods to a wider audience in education. In Hungary two colleges (Kodolányi College and the Buddhist College) and two universities (University Budensis, a technical university, and the University Semmelweis, a medical university) have already expressed an interest in the method.


Life Story


“Auguste Rodin was also dyslexic...”

I’m Anita and I am 19 years old. A few months ago I learned to my surprise that I am dyslexic and dysgraphic. Auguste Rodin, the famous sculptor, was also dyslexic, and I realized it was not an illness but another way of thinking, perceiving, and learning. Basically, it is another way of processing information. Because of this difference, some dyslexic people are actually more talented in particular ways than are non-dyslexic people. I found a lot of famous and well-known artists, scientists, musicians, politicians, and actors/actresses who had to cope with dyslexia, and I realized that having such a problem was not the end of the world. _x000D_For instance, I have been playing chess for eight years and I have taken part in many competitions. In fact, I came in ninth place in the individual competition of the Students’ Olympic Games, and in the team completion my team came in second place two years ago. I have also been playing the flute for eight years, and have participated in many concerts and local competitions.

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