OmpansA quick survey of a number of universities shows what I suspected, that there is little explicit guidance on how best to support students with dyslexia once they have progressed to a postgraduate or research degree. For that reason, I worked with a current student to develop something that would help university staff understand what is involved, particularly when it comes to giving feedback on written work at this level. The document contains two generic sections and two which the student can personalise. You can find a version to download at the end of this discussion piece. Try it and let me know what you think. Continue reading this article… »
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At our last meeting, Dyslexia Positive members discussed what helped and hindered us in our role as specialist dyslexia support tutors in colleges and universities. We agreed that the role course tutors play is vital to the success and well-being of our students. Here are a few of our favourite positives and negatives. Please comment with more things to add to the list:
Positive – we like it when:
- Tutors allow the use of a dictaphone in lectures and seminars. This is getting more and more common, but there are still a few reluctant teachers. Students need to be aware of issues of confidentiality.
- Tutors make good use of video clips to demonstrate a point. One of the most common frustrations is when in a practical session a student’s notes do not capture a practical skill demonstrated. We suggest tutors should also allow students to use their phone to video-record those demonstrations (with permission).
- Tutors build in stages towards the submission of an assignment or project, with interim feedback (including peer feedback) to help a student get started.
- Tutors provie a “writing frame” particularly in the early stages of a course module, to assist students to know how to structure their work and get the right balance between sections.
- Tutors provide models of what a finished product might look like, without at all spoon-feeding a standard response.
- Tutors provide constructive developmental feedback on what a student needs to do to improve.
Negative – we get frustrated on behalf of our students when:
- A tutor issuing problem papers says in advance that s/he will only mark some of the questions, but the student still has to put an effort into working on all of them. This encourages an illogical attempt to try and second guess which ones will be marked, and can lessen motivation.
- when the same tutor does not provide feedback or sample solutions to the ones s/he did not mark, as this can leave a gap in knowledge and confusion.
- when project supervisors limit the amount of contact with students (we have seen guidance saying, e.g. maximum of 3 emails or 2 meetings). We send our students straight to student support to request extra contact as a reasonable adjustment, but why should they have to do this?
- there is still patchy practice on providing assessment criteria or marking guidelines for assignments.