EFL Teachers’ Problems and Solutions in Teaching English to Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Revita Putri Utami, Suharyadi Suharyadi, Utari Praba Astuti


Sekolah Luar Biasa (SLB) is a school specialized for students with special needs, particularly students with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD). In Indonesia, the government guarantees that they have the same right to study formally and informally; and to get the best teachers in the teaching and learning process. In English language teaching, however, even qualified teachers have problems while teaching English to students with IDD. Despite the urgency to solve the problems faced by teachers who teach English or a foreign language to special needs students, especially IDD, there are only a few articles covering this topic. This study, which uses a descriptive qualitative method, aims at uncovering the problems and solutions of five English teachers in teaching students with IDD in SLB Pembina Tingkat Nasional Bagian C Malang. In order to obtain the needed data, an observation checklist, a field note, and an interview guide were utilized. The findings revealed that problems faced by the teachers were related to teachers’ English proficiency, methods and media used in teaching, and students’ ability in learning. The teachers used different solutions to overcome the problems, but the most common solution was using repetition in teaching and practicing. This solution was used as the students had difficulties in understanding and remembering the lesson. The other solutions used during the teaching and learning process include YouTube videos, English learning application, posters, and BSE.


EFL Teachers; problems and solutions; Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Full Text:

Download PDF


Adi, S. S., Unsiah, F., & Fadhilah, D. (2017). Teaching Special Students: English Lessons for Deaf Students in Indonesian Special Junior High Schools. International Journal of Education and Research, 5(12), 121-136.

Afifah, R. (2013, February 20). Selain “Master Teacher”, Kini Ada Sekolah Pembina. KOMPAS. https://edukasi.kompas.com/read/2013/02/20/08141289/~Edukasi~News

Al Hazmi, A. N., & Ahmad, A. C. (2018). Universal Design for Learning to Support Access to the General Education Curriculum for Students with Intellectual Disabilities. World Journal of Education, 8(2), 66-72. https://doi.org/10.5430/wje.v8n2p66

Al-Mahrooqi, R., Denman, C., Al-Siyabi, J., & Al-Maamari, F. (2015). Characteristics of a Good EFL Teacher: Omani EFL Teacher and Student Perspectives. SAGE Open, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015584782

Andi-Pallawa, B., & Alam, A. F. A. (2013). A Comparative Analysis between English and Indonesian Phonological Systems. International Journal of English Language Education, 1(3), 103–129. https://doi.org/10.5296/ijele.v1i3.3892

Aprilia, T. (2013). The Teaching of English at Autism Elementary Laboratory School State University of Malang. [Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis]. Universitas Negeri Malang.

Brosh, H. (1996). Perceived Characteristics of the Effective Language Teacher. Foreign Language Annals, 29(2), 125–136. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.1996.tb02322.x

Cheatham, G. A., & Barnett, J. E. H. (2017). Overcoming Common Misunderstandings About Students with Disabilities Who Are English Language Learners. Intervention in School and Clinic, 53(1), 58–63. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451216644819

Desmita, N., & Machrus, M. A. (2019). His strength is my strategies: Experience of an English teacher in Indonesia teaching English for hyperactive students in inclusive class. Journal of Advanced Research in Social Sciences and Humanities, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.26500/JARSSH-04-2019-0204

Goldsmith, J. A. (1995). The Handbook of Phonological Theory. Blackwell. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230876069_The_Handbook_of_Phonological_Theory

Gulati, B. (2016). Visualizing: The Most Effective Way to Teach EFL to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students. In E. Domagala-Zysk & E. H. Kontra (Eds.), English as a Foreign Language for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Persons: Challenges and Strategies (pp. 153-167). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Gultom, E. (2015). English Language Teaching Problems in Indonesia. Educational Community and Cultural Diversity, 3, 1234-1241. https://isre.prosiding.unri.ac.id/index.php/ISRE/article/view/3235/3147

Gunada, I. W. S. (2017). Using YouTube Video; An IT-based Media to Improve Students’ Speaking Skill. Ganesha University of Education. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326082917_Using_YouTube_Video_An_IT-based_Media_to_Improve_Students'_Speaking_Skill


Hayes, O. C. (2009). The Use of Melodic and Rhythmic Mnemonics to Improve Memory and Recall in Elementary Students in the Content Areas. [Master Thesis, Dominican University of California]. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED504997

Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. (2007). Peraturan Menteri Pendidikan Nasional Republik Indonesia Nomor 16 Tahun 2007 tentang Standar Kualifikasi Akademik dan Kompetensi Guru. https://bsnp-indonesia.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Nomor-16-Tahun-2007-1.pdf

Kementrian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. (2007). Undang-Undang Nomor 20 Tahun 2003 Tentang Sistem Pendidikan Nasional. http://simkeu.kemdikbud.go.id/index.php/peraturan1/8-uu-undang-undang/12-uu-no-20-tahun-2003-tentang-sistem-pendidikan-nasional

Kirk, S., Gallagher, J. J., & Coleman, M. R. (2015). Educating Exceptional Children (14th edition). Cengage Learning.

Mayahi, N., & Mayahi, F. (2014). “Isn’t it Our Fault?” Teachers Language Knowledge and Skills. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1119–1127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.03.524

Moeller, A. K., & Catalano, T. (2015). Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed., pp. 327–332). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.92082-8

Nasution, A. K. R. (2019). YouTube as a Media in English Language Teaching (ELT) Context: Teaching Procedure Text. Utamax : Journal of Ultimate Research and Trends in Education, 1(1), 29–33. https://doi.org/10.31849/utamax.v1i1.2788

Piniel, K., Kontra, E. H., & Csizer, K. (2016). Foreign Language Teachers at Schools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students. In E. Domagala-Zysk & E. H. Kontra (Eds.), English as a Foreign Language for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Persons: Challenges and Strategies (73-89). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pokrivčáková, S. (2015). Teaching Foreign Language to Learners with Special Education Needs in Slovakia. Teaching Foreign Languages to Learners with Special Educational Needs, 7-28. https://doi.org/10.17846/sen.2015.7-28

Puspitasari, D. (2019). English Language Teaching in Inclusive Class: A Challenge. Qalamuna – Jurnal Pendidikan, Sosial, dan Agama, 11(1), 37-46. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.3559221

Rachmawati, R., & Cahyani, F. (2020). The Use of Youtube Videos in Improving Non-English Department Students’ Pronunciation Skills. Alsuna: Journal of Arabic and English Language, 3(2), 83–95. https://doi.org/10.31538/alsuna.v3i2.916

Songbatumis, A. M. (2017). Challenges in Teaching English Faced by English Teachers at MTsN Taliwang, Indonesia. Journal of Foreign Languange Teaching and Learning, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.18196/ftl.2223

Sotto, E. (2011). When Teaching Becomes Learning: A Theory and Practice of Teaching (2nd ed). Continuum Education.

Ulva, S. (2018). The Use of Poster Media in Improving Students’ Speaking Ability (A Case Study at MTsN 2 Banda Aceh) [Undergraduate Thesis, Ar-Raniry State Islamic University]. https://repository.ar-raniry.ac.id/id/eprint/9224/

Upa, Y., & Mbato, C. L. (2020). English Teacher Identity Construction: Indonesian Teachers’ Motivation and Strategies in Teaching English for Special Needs Students. Project (Professional Journal of English Education), 3(2), 311-321. https://doi.org/10.22460/project.v3i2.p311-321

Urdarevic, I. (2016). Teaching English to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in Serbia: A Personal Account, in Domagala-Zysk, E. & Kontra, E. H. (Ed). English as a Foreign Language for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Persons: Challenges and Strategies (91-107). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Wehmeyer, M. L. (2006). Universal Design for Learning, Access to the General Education Curriculum and Students with Mild Mental Retardation. Exceptionality, 14(4), 225–235. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327035ex1404_4

Wilson, A. (2015). YouTube in the Classroom [Master Thesis, University of Toronto]. http://hdl.handle.net/1807/68780

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21093/ijeltal.v6i1.912


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics) by http://ijeltal.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Abstracting and Indexing



Contact Us: IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics;

Address: Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Islam Negeri Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris Samarinda

Jl. H.A.M. Rifadin, Samarinda, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. Email: ijeltalj@gmail.com