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Title: Towards accessing Shakespeare's text for those with SpLD (dyslexia) : an investigation into the rationale for building visual constructs
Author: Whitfield, Petronilla
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 6792
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This study explores the premise that some acting students assessed as dyslexic show a proclivity for processing the written text through non-verbal, visually- led mediums. It seeks to develop, and test pedagogical strategies that might cultivate this visual preference in order to facilitate the reading and acting of Shakespeare’s text by those with dyslexia. Aiming to ascertain what is meant by the term dyslexia and how it is manifested, there is a focus on practice guided by theory and subject - specific knowledge. The researcher aims to improve the current situation by contributing to the scarcity of research about the teaching of acting students in higher education who are dyslexic, specifically in the reading and acting of Shakespeare. The review of the literature supports the author’s claim that facilitation of the individual with dyslexia can be overlooked in actor training, while, in the teaching of the acting of Shakespeare, there is a promulgation of methods which can undermine the abilities of those with dyslexia. The methodology is case study, integrated with action research, set within a constructivist - interpretivist frame-work. Twelve acting students assessed as dyslexic are studied, and their experiences recorded. In addition, four action research cycles are instigated, with an incremental development of pedagogical strategies. These focus on the linking of text with art and movement, combining reading theory with acting methodologies, and comparison between Stanislavski’s and Cicely Berry’s physicalisation of the text. These methods are trialled for their value to facilitate memory, accuracy, interaction with the text, acting, and to inform teaching procedures. Analysis of the data suggests that the devised strategies were efficacious, to an extent, in supporting these twelve individuals with dyslexia into acting Shakespeare with fluency, whilst developing their meta- cognitive skills, artistic ability and self-belief. The implications of this research are that these visually-led methods can facilitate the teaching of those with dyslexia, and accommodate a realisation of Shakespeare’s imagery. The thesis concludes that further research should be undertaken so that the voices of those with dyslexia are heard, and that knowledge gained can be disseminated amongst the actor training community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts University Bournemouth
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB Theory and practice of education ; PR English literature