Tuesday, 9 April 2013

‘University?… hell no!’: Stammering through education

an article by Clare Butler (Newcastle University Business School, UK) published in International Journal of Educational Research Volume 59 (2013)


Little research has addressed the effect of having a stammer on academic achievement, specifically progression into higher education.

This study spans six decades of educational practice and shows few differences in participants’ experiences. They describe their education as occasions of scant interaction, spatial segregation and limited encouragement.

This alongside an abundance of ‘tension’, ‘humiliation’ and a host of unasked questions, restricts their educational achievement and aspirations.

Findings also offer insights into the possible long-term impact for students with other impairments or disabilities. These include their not being embedded in the educational networks, which may restrict their ability to develop the vital life skills of teamwork, persuasion and negotiation.

The implications are considered using a frame of social exclusion.

  • This article considers the educational experiences of people who stammer/stutter.
  • School was a ‘nightmare’ because of the ‘teachers’.
  • However, positive interaction with educators can be transformative.
  • Exclusion from class networks impaired participants’ ability to develop vital life skills.
  • Stammering needs to be talked about: avoid silence to improve aspiration.

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