Practitioners’ perceptions of dyslexia and approaches towards teaching learners with dyslexia in adult literacy classes
Learners with dyslexia are likely to be over-represented in adult literacy classes because of the convergence in perceptions, causes and understanding of literacy problems and dyslexia. Given the great amount of apprehension about practitioners’ and policy makers’ understanding of dyslexia itself, it is important to carry out an exploration of the perceptions of literacy teachers, who increasingly have responsibility for teaching learners with dyslexia. This study reports such an exploration. It employed a questionnaire survey and a focus group interview to collect data on the perceptions of literacy teachers on issues around the teaching of learners with dyslexia. The data collected were analysed using the conceptual analysis strand of concept analysis. It found that their perception of dyslexia and their approaches to teaching learners with dyslexia were informed by a dominant discourse which derives from a deficit model of dyslexia and which concurs with the metaphor of dyslexia and illiteracy as a form of disease. Furthermore, participants in this research revealed that they had limited confidence in the long-term value of the tuition they provide to their learners. The study concludes by highlighting that there is a need to explore alternatives in terms of perceptions and approaches if learners with dyslexia are to succeed in literacy classes.
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