22 SES 06 A, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
Parallel Paper Session
The data presented in this paper is the same data that I presented in my Ph D thesis.The thesis was written in Swedish.
The overall aim with the work accounted for in my doctoral thesis was to illuminate the prerequisites for participation for Swedish students with dyslexia in higher education, and to analyse if support, and the information about support offered by higher-education institutions, are accessible to these students. The following questions have guided my work:
• What measures are taken in higher education to ensure accessibility and participation for Swedish students with dyslexia?
• What tensions, as defined within cultural-historical activity theory may be found in the higher education activities in relation to students with dyslexia?
• How do students with dyslexia regard the support offered?
Dyslexia is a disability that involves difficulties with written text (Lyon, Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2003), which can be said to be the essence of higher education. My assumption therefore, was that the possibility for these students to complete their education on an equal footing with their peers was limited. Due to scarcity within Swedish research concerning the interaction between students with dyslexia and higher-education institutions, I saw a need to further explore this area.
The theoretical framework of my work was the cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). CHAT is based on the works of Vygotsky and Leontiev (e.g. Vygotskij, 1934; Leontiev, 1977), and has been further developed by Engeström (1987), among others. I have approached CHAT through the work of Engeström, especially by using his triangle model that can be used to represent human activity (see Engeström, 1987), to analyse my result.
CHAT can, according to Engeström (2001), be summarized in five principles::
• an activity system is the unit of analysis,
• it has historicity,
• it has multi-voicedness,
• it views contradictions as sources of change and development, and
• it has the potential for expansive transformation.
These principles have guided my production and subsequent processing of the
empirical data. Even though this is a Swedish study, I believe that the question of participation for students with dyslexia within Higher Educaton, is universal and of great interest to many countries.
Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by Expanding: An Activity - Theoretical Approach to Developmental Research. Helsinki: Orienta Konsultit. Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work. 14(1): 133-156. Engeström, Y. (2008). Enriching activity theory without shortcuts. Interacting with Computers. 20(2): 256-259 González, V.M.& Mark, G. (2004). "Constant, constant, multi-tasking craziness": managing multiple working spheres. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems archive, Vienna, Austria. New York:ACM. Lyon, G.R., Shaywitz, S.E.& Shaywitz, B.A. (2003). A Definition of Dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia. 53: 1-15. Leontiev, A. (1977/1986). Verksamhet, medvetande, personlighet. Moskva: Progress Moskva/ Fram Göteborg. Vygotskij, L.S. (1934/1999). Tänkande och språk. Göteborg: Daidalos AB. Björn Milrad, M. (2010). Studenter med läs- och skrivsvårigheter som deltagare i högre utbildning. Doctoral thesis. Linnéuniversitetet. Växjö: Linnaeus University Press.
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