Inclusion and students with specific learning difficulties

the double-edged sword of stigma and teacher attributions

Stuart Woodcock*, Brian Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) often appear to experience poorer educational and occupational outcomes than their peers. It is important to consider how these outcomes may be perpetuated by stereotypes and stigma associated with SpLD. One hundred and fifty-four primary (elementary) school teachers from the United Kingdom were presented with vignettes describing students with and without SpLD, and asked to provide information regarding how they would respond to these students. Results suggested a divergent response, with teachers exhibiting lower expectations of students with SpLD. When these students experienced failure, teacher feedback was more positive, frustration was lower, sympathy was higher, and expectation of future failure was stronger for students with SpLD. This response could be interpreted as being based in a deficit medical view of SpLD that uses stereotyped and stigmatised information rather than actual student abilities. This should not be the intention or result of inclusive educational practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEducational Psychology
    Early online date29 Dec 2018
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Dec 2018


    • specific learning difficulty
    • attribution theory
    • inclusion
    • stigma

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