Faye, thank you so much for joining me on the Studying With Dyslexia Blog. There are so many people out there who will be asking questions about the best ways to teach a dyslexic child in a mainstream school.
What sort of things should they be thinking about?
At St David’s College we believe that metacognition is an important aspect of teaching in the Cadogan Centre. St David’s is a mainstream independent school that is big on inclusion. We believe that being neurodiverse is a benefit as well as a challenge and a dyslexic child brings so much into a school if supported in the right way.
What is “Metacognition”?
Metacognition is about having an awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes. Our pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for understanding how they learn and working with us to support them as they learn.
Our pupils know that teaching works when they are engaged and able to answer assessment for learning questioning in the main body and plenary of a lesson.
So what do your pupils think is dyslexia friendly teaching?
According to our pupils, the staff who are recognised as being most ‘dyslexia friendly’ use a multi-sensory teaching approach. We use repetition (80% of the previous lesson is repeated) and assistive technology is encouraged and resources (curriculum based text)are digitally accessible.
Many of our pupils have poor working memory and multisensory teaching and intense repetition supports cementing information into the long term memory storage.
Pupils are advocates of online software such as Quizlet for drilling of key words and vocabulary and PDF textbooks supplied by the RNIB Bookshare so that text can be read to pupils.
1-1 teachers support pupils to identify strategies that work best for them whether it be planning an essay (mind-mapping with Mindview software) or learning facts for an exam.
Pupils try different methods of planning and learning and identify which is the most successful with their specialist support teacher before applying it to their mainstream curriculum lessons.
At St David's every classroom is dyslexia friendly and pupils are taught as individuals according to needs communicated on their Pupil Passports which staff have access to.
Class sizes are small meaning that teachers know pupils and understand that reams of text and chalk and talk will not work with these pupils. Their poor working memory needs visual cues, chunking of information into bite sizes and assistive technology to access and record information.