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Title: Dyslexia in higher education : exploring lecturers' perspectives of dylexia, dyslexic students and support strategies
Author: Busgeet, Toynarain
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 3732
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2008
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Without the awareness and understanding of the academic staff who come in contact with students with dyslexia, no HEI can be said to be making satisfactory provision for such students" (Singleton et a1.1999, p. 50). Following the introduction of the Special Education Needs Report (2001-2) much has been achieved regarding the provision of dyslexia support in higher education in the U.K. However, academic staff themselves remain largely unaware about dyslexia and how best to support dyslexic students (Borland and lames, 1999; Tinklin et al., 2004; Mortimore and Crozier, 2006; Holloway, 2001; Goode, 2007). The finding is supported mainly by research which focuses on the disabled students' perspective within the context of general disability there are hardly studies seeking lecturers' views specifically about dyslexia. The aim of this research was, therefore, to find the extent to which lecturers conceptualised their own understanding of dyslexia, dyslexic students and support in a university context. To achieve the above aim, lecturers' views were underpinned by Bricman et al. (1982) theoretical framework of help and coping. Based upon these authors' 'theory of attribution to responsibility of both the cause and solution of the problem' the framework is organised under four distinct help/support modalities, known as Moral, Enlightenment, Medical and Compensatory. Utilising a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach, the research was conducted in four stages. In the first stage, using in-depth interviews, data obtained were utilised to generate a research questionnaire for the main study. The interview findings revealed that lecturers were orientated predominantly towards two of Bricman et al. four help/support modalities, namely the Compensatory and Medical models. This is consistent with the Difference and the Deficits paradigms of dyslexia (West, 1997). In the main phase of the study (stages 2 and 3), quantitative findings fro a questionnaire revealed that lecturers associated almost equally with the Medical and Compensatory models in respect of their views of dyslexic students and approach to support. However, they did not associate quite so readily in their own role and that of dyslexic students in the support strategy. Specifically, lecturers did not only prefer to take a 'subordinate' role but had an expectation that dyslexic students should take ownership of their own support responsibility. This finding is consistent with the Compensatory model. Additionally, results showed that lecturers were limited in their understanding of dyslexia and ability to support dyslexic students. Since a quantitative study of this nature does not provide rich explanations of why lecturers held the views they did, the fourth phase of the research used a semi-structured interview designed to elaborate on some of the questionnaire findings. The data, not only added to the earlier findings but also identified some previously undiscovered factors that impinged on lecturers' support behaviour. To conclude, lecturers' general lack of dyslexia awareness, coupled with the way that they conceptualised dyslexic students showed serious implications for their approach to students' support. Most importantly, the researcher argues that while lecturers' expectation of their own role and that of dyslexic students may be helpful in supporting the more capable and independent students they may not be quite so helpful in supporting those students requiring a more immediate and direct form of dyslexia support.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available