Chathurika Sewandi Kannangara takes forward her interest in the application of Psychology in education to her research studies.
Some memories are abiding and some associations last a lifetime. For Chathurika Sewandi Kannangara returning to Jain University was like a piece of home where she had laid the foundation of a very significant journey that she undertook. Now, an Alumnus who is pursuing a doctoral degree from the University of Bolton, UK, she remembers fondly what was a pivotal experience and the role it is playing in the current context of her research studies.
Chathurika became a part of the University in 2009 when she decided to pursue her Master’s Degree. “I had done my Bachelor’s in India. During that period I visited the University to participate in competitions organized by the Department of Psychology. I interacted with the Faculty members from the Department and concluded that it would be the apt place to pursue my Masters.”
Hailing from Sri Lanka, Chathurika developed a keen interest in Psychology while she was still residing in her home country. “I always loved teaching. I used to teach children at schools run by some of the NGOs back at home.” As much as she enjoyed her stint as a teacher, Chathurika also encountered limitations of the education system and how at times it failed to address the needs of different groups of children. “I felt that Psychology plays a very significant role in education and yet, it is one of the aspects that have been quite neglected in the context of education.” She felt that applying Psychology to education can lead to a significant impact on finding solutions to problems encountered while learning. Later on while pursuing her Masters, Chathurika chose education and counselling as her specialisation.
Education and Counselling propelled her to look at learning disorders, especially, dyslexia. “When I was studying at Jain University, I came across some people who had suffered from dyslexia but were highly accomplished. It made me think that the inability to read or write cannot be the only benchmark for academic success. After all people who have dyslexia are also known to have a higher level of IQ.” Her present study is therefore on Positive Intervention for Dyslexia.
Chathurika’s research is based on case studies of people suffering from dyslexia. “So far people from Sri Lanka, United States, India and Australia have taken part in the process.”
One of the biggest challenges that the study poses is the sensitivity of the topic. People sometimes have very unpleasant memories related to dyslexia. “They remember the way people used to brand them as dumb or stupid, or the prejudices they faced. So, what we do is to start on a positive note. Talking to them about successful people who are dyslexic.”
The study undertaken by Chathurika might not solve all the problems faced by those having learning disabilities but she believes that it would surely help to change the perception of people towards the condition to a certain extent and help in taking required steps towards developing positive interventions.