Policy and research


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The Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education is published on the NADP website under the resources section and submitted to the British Library.

The value of Dyslexic Culture within our society

JIPFHE.ISSUE-8-Spring-2017 JIPFHE.ISSUE-8-Spring-2017 []

Katherine Hewlett MA RCA
This paper gave an overview of recent doctorate research which revealed a ‘Dyslexic Culture’ within the visual arts. The initial research set out to investigate the thinking approaches of dyslexic visual artists in their creative production, thus the research investigated dyslexic culture and the arts. The purpose was to find out if there are any thinking differences between dyslexic and non-dyslexic artists; to further discuss if dyslexic visual thinking is of value to modern mainstream society. The fieldwork included a purposive sampling of 44 artists with the data collected and interpreted through mixed methods using a range of tools.

The research was positioned within cognitive and social constructivist perspectives, recognising that independent thinking is an integrated cognitive process of conceptualising inner, outer environments and of complex social interactions. Thus the research methodology was both ethnographic and phenomenological.
Dyslexic visual thinking within a socio-cultural context was explored to give context to the concept of creativity, visual language and the value of arts education as a process of thinking and conceptual development. The research focus emerged during the first stage of the fieldwork, namely to consider if visual creative practice is produced through the skill of thinking within a multi-dimensional context, thus to further consider how dyslexic thinking might be of benefit to mainstream systems: education and the workplace.

The research revealed that there is a ‘Dyslexic Cognitive Culture’ positioned within the dynamic of the ‘outsider’. Triangulation of methods was used within the data collection and the analysis. The key finding is the dyslexic ability to think as flowed movement within a multi- dimensional conceptual framework. It was found that this ability is so inherent that the dyslexic artists did not question or consider this ability to be different or of any greater value. The research drew conclusions on this finding by emphasising and further discussing the value of this thinking to a technological and an increasingly entrepreneurial society where divergent thinking contributes to creative production. The research positioned visual dyslexic thinking within a positive paradigm and questioned the dynamics of mainstream systems that should recognise more the value of these differences within a ‘Dyslexic Culture and the Arts’.
AchieveAbility initiates and participates in various research projects.

AchieveAbility aims to support the needs of all Learners by activating evidence based research. The research methodology statement for AchieveAbility is as follows;

"AchieveAbility engages with action research as a method of 'learning through doing' that is both reflective and inclusive and which aims to enhance practice through project based collaboration."

Higher Education Academy Arts and Humanities conference: session fourteen abstracts

3-4th March 2016

14.3: The InCurriculum Project: using technology for assessment and feedback
Art & Design
Katherine Hewlett & Professor Neil Powell, Norwich University of the Arts

This paper highlights professional practice developed from the National Teaching Fellowship project, InCurriculum. Evidence drawn from Higher Education Statistical Agency data continues to show that students with a learning difference tend to go into Creative Arts or vocational course of undergraduate study. This tendency means that students with particular learning styles or recognised specific learning differences effectively collect in HEI's that are perceived to provide a sympathetic, student-centred teaching experience that is conducive or empathetic to an individualistic/dialogical approach to learning. Visual approaches to learning in art and design have been recognised as having transferable value for students across disciplines (Steffert.B, 1999,pp.43). The InCurriculum project investigated such learning and assessment encounters with a view to testing and developing transferable practice to other subject areas within UK higher education.

Using Technology for assessment and feedback paper [] [pdf]

Using Technology for assessment and feedback power point presentation [ppt]
Intensive SuperReading Course Successfully Piloted at Greenwich University (Ron Cole)

The 8 week SuperReading course has been redesigned as a 4 day intensive option building in 7 hours of supervised eye-hopping practice. It was piloted at Greenwich University from 5 to 8 January, 2015, with support from AchieveAbility and Melanie Thorley (Disability Project Officer and AccessAbility Project Co-ordinator).

10 students and 4 staff participated in the pilot. The mean Reading Effectiveness (RE = speed x comprehension/recall) of the group increased from better than 30% of the population to better than 95%.

On the first day, 8 of the 10 students had scored below average on the baseline RE test (ranging from better than 1 - 8% of the population). However, by the 4th consecutive day, all had at least doubled their RE raw score and only one remained below average (lowest 16%); six now scored above the mean, and three of these scored above average (specifically better than 96% of the population). One student progressed from better than 5% of the population, to better than 99.9% (see graph below).

This represents a mean increase of 33.7 standardised points (or 2.25 Standard Deviations) in just 4 days. Bearing in mind that a full school year usually produces approximately 0.5 Standard Deviations in progress, this is an extraordinary result; especially when we consider that 3 of the students are believed to be dyslexic and 4 of them have English as an additional language. (One of the students also missed the second day due to illness).

Feedback from the participants includes:

I think the most valuable thing is that it has made me love reading again as I rarely read anything in the last 3 years

We received some very useful and astonishing experiences and techniques.
Reading has never been my strongest asset, and on this course my reading effectiveness score improved dramatically.(Her score actually became better than 99.9% of the population).

I really increased my speed of reading and also my comprehension increased a lot.

My scores increased considerably and I found the previewing reading reviewing formula very helpful.I would recommend this course.

A daily difference I've seen is that my reading speed is a lot faster when I read novels. As well as that my comprehension has definitely gone up.

I would highly recommend the course be taught to more people. I am sure they wouldn't know how good it is until they have attended. Am (sic) most importantly amazed by the results at the end.

The following full feedback from Moe Hydar, a student on the pilot, captures what a lot of the participants of SuperReading have felt:

I am shocked to say that this method of reading actually works. You tend to hear about these fancy crash courses that claim to make you smarter or become a millionaire almost instantly, without any proof.

You do your best to keep away from them no matter how good it sounds; you just know to yourself that it's just a hoax.

Well the SuperReading course I got to actually see the progress I was making from actual data. Plus I noticed myself that I was doing much better than I had ever achieved before when trying to remember what I had read.

Thanks to this I can now go back to reading more books because I know I will be able to remember what it was that I read, instead of proactively forgetting as I progressed through the book, making it seem like a waste of time.

SuperReading is highly recommended.

Dr Ross Cooper, January, 2015.