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We often assume that the reason some of our adult language learners struggle is that they have a learning disability, but in fact there are several other factors that may impede their learning. Known nationally for her research on learning difficulties and English language acquisition, our presenter will share evidence for at least seven other factors and provide classroom strategies to address them.


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • ESOL teachers with some experience working with learners who have struggled

In every class of adult English learners (ELs), there are some who do not make progress, do not engage fully, struggle to master almost anything, or generally do not thrive where others do well. Although many teachers think that such problems are likely caused by learning disabilities, Dr. Lovrien has found that at least seven other factors may impede learning for adult ELs. The presenter, who is known nationally for her work in this intersection of learning difficulties and English language acquisition, will offer case studies illustrating a number of these factors and provide a quick “If this—then do that” list so you can help prevent learning failure for many of your learners. She will also guide you to rich sources of further information. 

Learning Objectives: 

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

  • Explain why certain adult ELs’ learning challenges are not the result of a learning disability
  • Identify at least five of the seven causes of learning difficulty for adult ELs
  • Identify at least one way to respond to each of the five causes identified and in such a way that the ELs’ learning is not further challenged
  • Reflect on changes you can make in your own practice to support learning for adult ELs who have struggled
11/15/2017 - 12:30pm to 5:30pm
Cambridge Community Learning Center
5 Western Avenue
Cambridge, MA
PD Center: 
Topic Area: 
ESOL/English Language Learner
Learning Disabilities
PDP Eligible: 
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