Understanding Dyslexia in the Mainstream Classroom: Voices of 8th Grade Learners at Sihole Combined School in Kalabo District
Dyslexia, a reading disability is one of the disorders with a greater prevalence among all learning disorders (Sako, 2016) that affects academic performance. Since reading is critical to learning all subjects, a disability in reading is likely to frustrate learning at all levels. For learners with dyslexia, the condition does not only affect their academic performance but also their ability to interact with peers. While many studies have been conducted on the prevalence of learning disabilities and dyslexia specifically, the experiences of learners with dyslexia learning in the mainstream classroom have not been explored particularly at Sihole Combined School in Kalabo- Western Province of Zambia. This study explored the experiences of learners living with dyslexia in the mainstream classroom at Sihole Combined School in Kalabo district. A qualitative approach was adopted to study the experiences of Eleven (11) participants comprising Eight (8) grade 8 learners and three (3) teachers purposively selected to share their experiences. The findings revealed that learners with dyslexia suffered ridicule from both their peers and teachers when they failed to read. This affected their participation in classroom activities that involved reading. The study also further revealed that grade eight teachers at Sihole Combined School in Kalabo district had minimal knowledge about signs of dyslexia among pupils in their classes. There is need to sensitise learners on learning disabilities and educate teachers on dyslexia so that they can identify and offer support services to learners with dyslexia.