‘The only learning I’m going to get’: Students with intellectual disabilities learning a second language through performative pedagogy


  • Erika Piazzoli Trinity College Dublin
  • John Kubiak Trinity College Dublin




Traditionally, adults with intellectual disabilities have not been given the option of participating in and thus benefiting from higher and post-secondary education. However, over the last number of years, an increasing number of inclusive tertiary educational programmes have come into existence. This article focuses on one such programme entitled Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice delivered in the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. The aim of this study was to consider the role of embodiment in supporting the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) process of a group of students with intellectual disabilities. The paper describes a project which integrated two of the programme modules – Italian for Beginners and Exploring Art: Renaissance to Modern. Findings presented support the use of a performative approach to second language learning for students with intellectual disabilities and sheds light on the connection between embodiment, language and learning in a performative key.


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