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Respected and Heard: Using narratives and poetry to explore the learning experiences of mature students with disabilities in Higher Education

Thompson, Conor (2021) Respected and Heard: Using narratives and poetry to explore the learning experiences of mature students with disabilities in Higher Education. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Higher Education, both in an Irish and global context, has undergone significant changes in the past thirty years. One such change is the increase in participation of groups who were previously excluded from Higher Education, such as those with disabilities and mature students. Many studies have focused on the learning experiences of students with disabilities and mature students as two distinct groups; however, few have looked at the experiences of older students with disabilities or learning difficulties in Higher Education. Informed by bioecological systems theory, this study explored the learning experiences of five mature students who were registered with Disability Support Services at a Higher Education Institution in Ireland. The study took the form of a narrative inquiry and gathered storied accounts of the students’ learning experiences through semi-structured interviews. In conjunction with this, an arts-based ‘found poetry’ technique was utilised. This participative technique involved the researcher and participants co-creating poems, based on the shared reading of interview transcripts, thereby distilling the students’ learning experiences into poetic form. This approach allowed the study to elevate the voices of the people who took part. The findings that emerged from this inquiry suggest that negative prior experiences in education can cause fear and self-doubt for mature students with disabilities when commencing Higher Education programmes. Previous experiences may also cause a lack of awareness of the support that is currently available, as such supports have developed considerably since the participants were last in a formal education setting. In overcoming these challenges, supports and quality educational assessment were found to be important in building confidence, which brought about the emergence of a new self-image for some participants.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Education for the Learning Disabled
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Learning disabilities
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Master of Arts in Educational Practice
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2022 12:09
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2022 13:59
URI: https://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5283

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