Learning, Dyslexia & Creativity
I just recently spoke at a teachers training day on my experiences as a student and it inspired me to write a little too.
I love learning, I always have had a passion for discovery and the feeling of achievement when you learn new things and develop your thinking.
This has not always been simple for me though, as at a young age I was assessed as dyslexic and struggled with a traditional academic environment.
I have, through the help of my parents and my siblings experiences, soon discovered, that this way of thinking is not necessarily a disability, it is just a different style of thought processes and can often be a gift; however like many things in life it also brings many challenges.
The good news is, those who are dyslexic are often strong problem solvers. If they can be encouraged to create strategies and creative solutions to reach the standardized targets created for exams; they can continue to be encouraged that they are an achiever and an overcomer of difficulties.
A large part of my overcoming it, has admittedly been down to gaining understanding from my teachers, for my personal learning style. Also it would have been difficult to grow at a younger age without the intense support I had from my parents.
Teaching a student to identify what they are actually finding difficult can be difficult in itself, but it is an invaluable skill for the rest of your life, because you can think through what is the obstacle, what help you need, how to ask for help and also how to help yourself! With all this help one can’t help but feel encouraged!
I only wanted to say something briefly because I see it as far more important to leave plenty of space to recommend some useful tools for teachers, students and parents alike. so here goes here are some practical resources for you to play with. They are not the top or the best, although I do think some of them a pretty fantastically brilliant!
This info can also be found with more ideas in a visual language at: http://pinterest.com/lucychrista/tools-for-schools/
Books (I have not read these but it is based on the rating and reviews)
- Creative Teaching and Learning Toolkit, by Brin Best and Will Thomas.
This book aims to help you become a more effective teacher through a new teaching and learning framework which centres on the key role of creativity.
“Wow – so much for so little, as not only are you going to feel you are making things better for you and your pupils, but there is reassurance that you are on the right lines in the first place, AND you get a CD of the resources shown in the book! At this price, you’d be daft not to buy it!”
- Study Skills for Students with Dyslexia SAGE Study Skills Series, by Sandra Hargreaves.
Full of advice on topics such as note-taking, reading strategies and exam techniques, this fully revised and updated new edition will motivate, inspire and guide you through your studies.
“Informative, clear and well-structured, providing practical advice and excellent tips, this is a must for HE students with SpLDs and staff”
- Brain Child: How Smart Parents Make Smart Kids, By Tony Buzan.Exuberant look at the enormous potential of a child’s brain and provides parents with the practical tools they need to help their children achieve it. Mind maps, memory games and other techniques allow parents to encourage learning and development for children of all ages.
“I was so pleased with this book,astonished at my childs potential!a must have for parents,a real eye opener,your child is capable of great things”
- Dyslexia: A Parents’ Survival Guide, by Christine Ostler. A second, revised edition of the practical and down-to-earth ‘survival’ guide, which gives advice and suggestions for parents who find bringing up a dyslexic child both frustrating and worrying. Strategies are suggested for coping in a positive way with the problems of the dyslexic at home and at school.
“This book is a fantastic read and highly educating! As a parent of a child with dyslexia, it’s constantly about ‘spelling’, ‘reading’, ‘numeracy’ etc. This book is written by a dyslexia teacher who has dyslexia and who’s son has dyslexia which adds a definite ‘been there’ feel. It’s also written in a humourous way and suggests strategies that can be used at home to aid in the management of dyslexia as well as ways to read with your child. This book highlights those areas that you don’t usually think are related to dyslexia (as well as addressing the usual) and since reading it, I feel a little guilty about the times when I have become frustrated with my son re: his disorganisation etc”
- Buzan’s Study Skills: Mind Maps, Memory Techniques, Speed Reading, by Tony Buzan. The amazing mind mapping, speed reading and memory techniques developed by Tony Buzan, the world’s bestselling author on the brain and learning, will revolutionize your studies and maximize your success in exams.
“What Buzan does offer is a way to study more effectively. Instead of reading and reading text, Buzan offers different methods of learning, storing and recalling information which is invaluable. Time is still required for this to work, drawing a useful mind map takes time, perfecting note taking takes practice and although the speed reading section offers some good tips much psychological research has indicated that the faster you read information the worse your recall of that information is.”
- Good tech blog for schools http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2011/07/seven-tools-for-creating-mind-maps-and.html#.UchMrfmTiSo
- Exploratree, Use our free online library of thinking guides Print them out or fill in and complete your project on the exploratree website. http://www.exploratree.org.uk/
- SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. It lets you organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, etc. in free-form maps. You can collaborate and share those maps online! http://www.spiderscribe.net/
- Quicklyst, helps you take beautiful outline-style notes that help you structure your ideas. https://quicklyst.appspot.com/
- Mindmeister. The leading online mind mapping software. http://www.mindmeister.com/
- Infographics tool, llustrate your data: Create more than 30 chart types. Anything from bubble charts and treemaps to simple pie charts. http://infogr.am/ http://www.infographicsarchive.com/create-infographics-and-data-visualization/
- Videoscribe: From school teachers, lecturers through to e-learning companies, the power of VideoScribe gives you the ability to explain concepts, illustrate talks and engage an audience in a new and incredible way. With the added benefit of educational discounts, not only can you create training materials quicker and easier than ever, you can also enjoy outstanding value http://www.sparkol.com/videoscribe.php
- Various tools for visual learning that are free! http://www.infographicsarchive.com/create-infographics-and-data-visualization/
- Survey monkey, a helpful free resource for creating and sending out self-made surveys ie for market research, http://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/aboutus/
- FactSheets about dyslexia, dyslexia and computers – computer software http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/factsheet/dyslexia-and-computers
Voice recorder- can get on mobile phones along with a camera just don’t put a sim card in, alternatively you can buy a voice recorder and digi camera separately.
I would highly recommend voice recorders for those who have a strong auditory learning style and or struggle with thinking and writing at the same time. If you are strong at speaking your thoughts as they formulate do that first and then write it out from the recorded note. It can also be helpful in classes if multiple instructions are given out and you cannot remember them all…….. and, well options are limitless.
I would also recommend coloured paper or overlays can make reading concentration dramatically increase. Likewise when typing change the background colour of your word page to help with visual strain. Ultimately non-prescription glasses with tinted lenses are best as this combats not only reading and writing difficulties but also problems with copying from the board and concentration in class when there is bright artificial lighting, decreasing headaches and tiredness. They also tend to be easier to remember to use.
I have often said a few creative and alternative teaching activities can spark that click of understanding that is then transferable back to areas that students have struggled in!
So, to sign out a fun idea for story telling!
Do feel free to comment on your experiences and add any resources you too have discovered as helpful.