Kerissa Nelson


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 seeks high quality education for all (UNSDG4). This requires classrooms to have improved access and opportunity for all students including those with dyslexia. Research regarding dyslexic students’ experiences and inclusive education have not yet been thoroughly investigated. This research specifically addressed the experiences that both shape and are shaped by one’s own perspectives and those of others in their environment. The study’s objectives were to create knowledge and promote understanding of the experiences of students with dyslexia and to gain educators’ perspectives on classroom practices. The study drew on these different perspectives using a qualitative multi-temporal case study research design. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling and data were generated using semi-structured interviews and focus groups discussions. Five dyslexic students from mainstream secondary school participated in semi-structured interviews and shared current experiences of being dyslexic. One student had both a confirmed diagnosis and self-identification. However, all students in this group self-identified as dyslexic and were also identified as dyslexic by their school. Eight university participants reflected on their experiences during focus group discussions on formerly being students with dyslexia in mainstream secondary school. All of these students self-identified as dyslexic, with the exception of one who had both a confirmed diagnosis and self-identification. Educator participants reflected on current, past, and potential future experiences supporting secondary school students with dyslexia. The focus group consisted of five participants, four females and one male, including one Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) three Teaching Assistants (TAs) and one teacher from the same mainstream secondary school in South West England. Data were analysed using an adapted thematic data analysis and concepts drawn from aspects of cultural and historical activity theory. Findings were organised into three main themes, structures, relationships, and identity, which led to recommendations designed to increase the positive experiences of students with dyslexia in mainstream secondary classrooms and help them form positive identities.

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