Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Elizabeth A Nowicki


In this cross-cultural comparison, students from inclusive schools in Canada and Saudi Arabia shared their beliefs about the causes of and factors associated with learning difficulties. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with 36 Canadian and 62 Saudi elementary students in Grades 5 and 6. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Six categories emerged: Lack of Knowledge, Achievement, Academic Skills; Cognitive and Social-Emotional Barriers; Lack of Attention and/or Motivation and Behavioural Issues; Home and Parental Concerns; Teacher-Related Issues; and Physical/Sensory Disabilities and Innate Conditions. Results showed that participants from both countries had a general understanding of the factors associated with learning difficulties. Compared to their Saudi peers, Canadian students showed a deeper understanding of cognitive and social-emotional factors associated with learning difficulties. Educational and research implications are discussed.