Sunday, 14 October 2012

We Never Stop Learning

I was at Leeds Metropolitan University on Friday starting the National Award for SEN Coordination. I had previously started the same course at another university and found it to be over-complicated in terms of coursework, with very little support in terms of work-course-life balance. The course at Leeds Met, at least from the onset, seems much more practical and sharply focused.

There were a series of workshops throughout the day delivered by SEN Coordinators and teachers working in the field - with the final one being on dyslexia. I have previously undertaken postgraduate training in dyslexia and I think naturally you find yourself initially thinking, "I've done this already..." It could be interpreted as a kind of arrogance or complacency I suppose, but it is also borne simply out of the feeling time is so precious as a teacher and SEN Coordinator.

However, it never fails to surprise how you always learn something new when networking with colleagues.

Theoretically, the talk on dyslexia was particularly informative for me in terms of clearly distinguishing between working memory, short term memory and long term memory. I have long had a feeling memory drives much of the difficulties our 'dyslexic tendencies' and 'ADHD-type' learners face - and the next step will be to look into interventions and other means of practical support to address these issues.


The talk was also interesting in terms of resources, with a tip on software that can convert mindmaps into flow diagrams / writing frames - something I had been wondering about just the week before. We were also recommended the book 'The Dyslexic Advantage' by Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide, which seems to follow on from an earlier book by Ron Davies titled 'The Gift of Dyslexia'. Through my recent work with mind-maps, I'd been wanting to scratch up on the non-literacy features of dyslexia (particularly the idea of linear and non-linear thinkers) and this suggestion seems to have come at exactly the right time.

Finally, in terms of developing further understanding of dyslexia in school, I was particularly grateful for the recommendation of the Kara Tointon documentary 'Don't Call Me Stupid' produced by BBC3 (which had completely passed me by). It's always useful to try view SEN / specific learning difficulties through the eyes of the beholder, and this does just that. I will certainly look to use clips from this in future CPD.


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