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This workshop offers an extraordinary opportunity for ESOL teachers to learn from a respected specialist in literacy and learning disabilities. With Chris Wenz, PhD, from Landmark College’s Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT), you will explore the unique challenges encountered by second language learners with learning disabilities, difficulties, and differences, and the strategies you can use to help them meet and overcome these challenges. (LCIRT is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities.) 


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • ESOL teachers interested in expanding their instructional toolkit to address the needs of English learners with learning challenges

Learning a new language is often challenging for adults but can be exceptionally difficult for those with learning differences and disabilities. In this full-day workshop with the noted researcher/teacher educator Chris Wenz, you will:

  • explore the cognitive processes associated with language learning and how individual differences in these processes can lead to significant learning challenges in ESOL classrooms
  • examine models of executive function and the relationships between working memory, attention, and language processing
  • apply these theories and models through simulations and case studies to enable you to more deeply understand the profound difficulties learners can face in an ESOL classroom
  • evaluate the extent to which Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and other teaching practices can address these difficulties
  • practice integrating UDL elements into your instructional planning

The course components include:

  • A face-to-face workshop (5 hours)
  • Application to your teaching practice (2 hours)
  •  An online webinar (1 hour) to share your experiences with colleagues

To receive credit, you must participate in all components. Total PD hours: 8PDPs are available upon request and by meeting the following criteria:

  • Participation in both the face-to-face session and online webinar
  • Completion of at least one Learning To Achieve module []
  • Written evidence of the integration of new strategies, tools, and/or techniques from the workshop into your classroom practice

For more information, contact Dori McCormack at 

Learning Objectives: 

Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss several definitions of learning disabilities and their legal and pedagogical implications for adult basic education
  • Explain cognitive theories of language of both first and second languages (L1 and L2) and apply those theories to difficulties with L2 learning
  • Explore models of Executive Function (EF) and identify how EF difficulties impact language processing and L2 learning
  • Evaluate various instructional approaches for their potential to support a wide range of language learners with and without disabilities, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and task-based language teaching
  • Apply element of these approaches and specific strategies to the planning of L2 instruction that is aligned with the MA English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education and supportive of adult learners with and without learning and executive-function difficulties
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s): 

Before attending this workshop, participants must complete the online Introduction to Learning Disabilities in Adults, available through SABES [],which covers:

  • LD Definitions
  • LD Accommodations
  • Workforce Preparation Strategies for LD Learners
03/29/2019 - 9:30am to 3:30pm
05/02/2019 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Quinsigamond Community College, The Harrington Learning Center, Room 109B
670 West Boylston St.
Worcester, MA 01606
PD Center: 


SABES English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Curriculum & Instruction PD Center
Topic Area: 
ESOL/English Language Learner
Learning Disabilities
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