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GSE Lecture Series - Professor Joe Elliott (Principal of Collingwood College, Durham University)

Lecture 2 in the 2020-21 Graduate School of Education Lecture Series

Event details

"The dyslexia debate"

This presentation will outline the problematics of the term dyslexia, as examined in The Dyslexia Debate (Elliott and Grigorenko, 2014). This text, four years in the production, provides a detailed analysis and synthesis of research in dyslexia across the domains of genetics, neuroscience, cognitive science, educational science, and educational and social policy.

There are a number of reasons why scientific understandings are often confused and occasionally misrepresented by researchers, practitioners/clinicians and lay public. Not only is the diagnosis scientifically problematic, there is also a misplaced belief that, in line with the medical model, a diagnosis of dyslexia will point to appropriate forms of intervention that would otherwise fail to be identified. The presentation will conclude by stating that it is now time to dispense with the term dyslexia. An alternative way of conceptualising reading difficulties that can address many of the above problems, will be proposed in its place.


About The Speaker

Julian (Joe) Elliott is Principal of Collingwood College, and Professor of Educational Psychology, at Durham University. Initially, a teacher of children with special educational needs, he subsequently practised in as an educational psychologist, before becoming a university lecturer in 1990. A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Chartered Psychologist, and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, he is registered to engage in clinical practice as an educational psychologist by the Health Care Professions Council. He is a member of the Education Panel for the 2014 and 2021 Research Excellence Frameworks. His research primarily operates at the interface of educational psychology as both a discipline and a profession.


A recent article in the Guardian provides further detail about the speaker's views and position.


This event will be hosted by Dr Li Li, Director of Research, and Professor Brahm Norwich, Centre lead for the Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability.


For those with an Exeter IT account the recording of this lecture is now available on ELE.


DyslexiaExeter_University_2020_dyslexia_copy.pdfJoe Elliott Exeter Lecture presentation (1398K)