The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

“Keeping your Head down”: Dyslectic Students’ Coping Strategies in Secondary School

Kitt Margaret Lyngsnes, Nord University (Norway)


This paper explores what strategies young people develop to cope with their dyslexia in secondary school. The experiences of the students are studied in a Norwegian context. The research question for the study was as follows: What experiences do dyslectic students have in secondary school regarding their dyslexia? A phenomenological approach was adopted to explore the dyslectic students’ experiences. Purposive sampling was used to identify four young people who met the chosen criteria. The data-gathering tool was individual semi-structured interviews. Data was analysed through a thematic step-by-step analysis process. A main finding was how the students in different ways developed personal coping strategies to handle their learning difficulty related to schoolwork. Three strategies were identified: “family helping out”, “listening carefully to teachers” and “keeping your head down”. Furthermore, the findings point to the significance of teacher competence for students with dyslexia. The study identified the need for teachers to understand the students’ learning difficulty, provide alternative tasks and have competence in how to use software teaching aids to support pupils with dyslexia.

Keywords: dyslexia, phenomenology, secondary education.

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