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An exploration into teachers’ perceptions and experiences of dyslexia in the Further Education Sector

Hogan, Emily (2021) An exploration into teachers’ perceptions and experiences of dyslexia in the Further Education Sector. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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This paper will explore the current perceptions of further education teachers with regards to dyslexia and how they can support their students in an inclusive environment. In recent years, the further education system has been further developed in the area of diversity and the implementation of inclusive education has advanced. However, it is evident throughout policy and legislation from the Department of Education that this area can be enhanced in terms of special education provision specifically in the further education sector. Current research outlines that there is a gap in Irish literature with regards to policy and provision of dyslexia in the further education system. It is also apparent that there is a necessity for additional support for both teachers and students in the further education system. Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) is the main area of discussion in this study with emphasis on dyslexia. It is evident throughout the literature that there is a limited amount of knowledge held by teachers in all areas of education with regards to dyslexia and how they can support their students in the classroom.

In order to fill this gap, the research adopted a qualitative approach as it was necessary to gather the relevant data to answer the research question. The research design adopted an exploratory design as it set out to investigate the perceptions and experiences of six further education teachers in Ireland, how they perceive dyslexia and how they can implement an inclusive environment for students. Semi structured interviews were conducted online via Zoom. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic and narrative analysis was adopted during the study as this allowed for an in depth analysis of the data gathered to produce the findings of the study. Analysing the current views and perceptions of these educators will provide valuable insights into the area of discussion and provide an effective way of authentically assessing how teachers implement an inclusive environment for their students.

The results presented four central themes and were as follows: ‘Labels’, ‘Change over time’, ‘Teacher Perceptions and Attitudes’ and ‘Challenges and Areas for Improvement’. Following the broad title of themes, it was imminent to filter the data even further into subthemes. The findings suggested that teachers held a basic understanding of dyslexia and expressed a positive attitude towards students who possess a specific learning difficulty. It was argued that teachers need to be provided with correct materials and education to support these students. The participants also discussed the current further education system and what needed to be developed in order to contribute to an inclusive environment for students. The main areas of concern were teacher education and the current attitudes of educators. Other participants felt that teacher education was made available to teachers but their attitudes towards upskilling was negative. The findings are highlighted and discussed in terms of their significance and contribution to the area of special education. The limitations and challenges of the research are acknowledged and examined throughout the chapters as well as direction for future research in the area of SEN.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Teaching Personnel
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: 14 Jan 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 14:44

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