Overcoming barriers for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Modern Foreign Languages : a critical evaluation of the impact of ASD strategies on the attainment and engagement of learners in a Year 7 class

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Eloise Johnson
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The increasing presence of pupils with special educational needs in the mainstream classroom is heightening the requirement for teachers to differentiate their practice for the expanding range of needs. This study focusses on one special educational need, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) classroom: a largely unexplored area of research. Focussing on one Year 7 French class, including 2 learners with ASD, in a British comprehensive secondary school, this paper seeks to look at the impact of suggested strategies for facilitating the learning of pupils with ASD in the MFL classroom. A scheme of work was developed, and differences in engagement and attainment were measured throughout. Findings suggest that the benefits on attainment are significant, both for learners with ASD and ‘neurotypical’ learners. Engagement of the class also improved over the intervention.The study opens up possibilities for future research, including the potential benefit of MFL learning for pupils with ASD, and it highlights the need for a set of comprehensive guidelines for ASD in the MFL classroom.
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PGCE Secondary , Modern Foreign Languages , Classroom , Education , Year 7 , ASD , Autism
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