A critical examination of the construct of the inclusive college with specific reference to learners labelled as dyslexic

McNicholas, Ann-Marie (2013). A critical examination of the construct of the inclusive college with specific reference to learners labelled as dyslexic. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000eebb


This research is concerned with the policy and practice of the inclusion of students experiencing difficulties in learning labelled as dyslexic, in a further education (FE) college. Employing qualitative methodology, the focus is upon a case study of one college and the perspectives of stakeholders - students, tutors, support staff and managers. It investigates what their voices can tell us about factors likely to enhance equality and inclusion for these students. A review of the literature identifies key issues, but also reveals a relative lack of research in the area of dyslexia in FE and the student voice. In-depth interviews are utilised to gain information on the issues and tensions involved in constructing inclusive processes in FE. Grounded theory is employed to identify themes in the data. Analysis utilises concepts drawn from critical theory to provide an explanation of . the findings within the wider political and ideological contexts in which these processes operate. This research found that the workings of the further education system within a bureaucratic, market driven system are adversely impacting upon the experiences of students labelled as dyslexic. The systems and policies in place serve to deflect attention away from issues of pedagogy, politics and power relations by locating barriers to learning within the individual learner, promoting exclusion and inequality. This is in direct contrast to an overtly stated college policy and mission statement of promoting equality. The research also highlights how this system with competing ideologies and policies serves to silence student voices when they attempt to assert their rights and desires. Evident too, is the silencing of tutor voices by a pressurised, target driven system. I argue that a social model approach is required, where barriers to learning are located within attitudes, environment and organisational structures, to promote a response more aligned to consideration of rights, equity and inclusion of learners.

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