I was so intrigued by this article, “20 Things Only Parents of Children with Dyslexia will Understand.”
I won’t repeat the article, but a few things of the twenty stand out that make life so very difficult for kids:
- They feel dumb and stupid
- They are exhausted by detail
- They can be disorganized
- They are not lazy or unmotivated — (but everyone thinks they are!)
But what people forget is the many, many gifts that dyslexics have — it’s just how schools are structured makes these kids struggle so much. Here are the gifts:
- They view the world holistically
- They are visual thinkers
- They see solutions/things that others do not
- They often have above average intelligence
- Their sense of hearing is exceptional
The conclusion of the article is key:
Unfortunately, learning has been so intimately tied to reading that they have been at a clear disadvantage. Things are rapidly changing; however, in this wonderful age of technology. We are reaching a point at which we will be able to honor all learning styles, not just those that have traditionally met with success.
An article in MindShift, “Is School for Everyone?” discusses a concept that allows teens to fully direct their own learning, with appropriate adult mentorship and support.
Ken Danford founded North Star, a center that enrolls teens and allows them to learn on their own. A former middle school teacher, he saw too many kids damaged, disengaged and unable to learn. He has seen some amazing success stories out of North Star. There are apparently a few other places like this around the country. Students do have to take a GED or something in order to officially get a high school diploma. Many of these students do very successfully go on to college.
This would’ve been an ideal option for my daughter. Like the students in the story, she has significant anxiety around school and basically shut down. It would’ve taken her a few months to destress and come out, but I think she would’ve flown if given the proper adult mentorship and guidance, and allowed to learn at her own pace about things that inspired passion.
Would she have learned high level chemistry? Nope. Would she, perhaps, have explored a Mozart opera in depth? Probably. She may have learned to make films, done ceramics, listened to some great literature, taken tons of pictures, written some scripts, done some professional theater. This list could’ve been long. Instead, she was forced into classrooms with 30 kids, filled out worksheets and taken bubble tests.
We are hopeful that while college is still “formal” academic experiences, the fact that it is more self directed will allow her some more positive learning opportunities. Keep your fingers crossed.
And watch Ken’s TED Talk:
I love John Green. He talks so fast, I think he gets in twice as much info as anyone else….
I cannot evaluate the content in this video, as I know next to nothing about the situation in Ukraine.
I do know, however, that John Green has nailed how students – and adults – learn. I learned more about the situation in this 6 minute video (which I watched twice) than I have in the last few weeks.
Green makes great use of using history to understand a current situation. There is really no way to understand what’s going on there without knowing the history, but he does a great job moving through the essentials, and demonstrating how history, geography and politics all contribute to the current situation.
Wouldn’t it be great if students were empowered to do this type of assignment? Not only does video production require writing (like a paper), it also requires visual literacy skills. Yeah! 21st century skills!
Professionally, I would love to be able to produce content out this quickly as it relates to current events. I’m not keeping my fingers crossed….