“When a dyslexic understands how they think and what information they need to learn a new task it is like finally getting the pieces of a puzzle to fit.”
HOW THE RIGHT BRAIN LEARNS
“A right-brained individual learns by processing and retaining information in whole concrete images.”
The Dyslexia Victoria Online approach to teaching the dyslexic student begins with accepting that the right brain thinks in whole pictures, images and concepts. It is necessary to understand that letters and numbers on their own are very abstract and represent nothing to the right brain. This is not a disability, but a learning difference. Also, arithmetic and many of the words in our language are abstract.
Dyslexic students must be taught the appropriate skills for learning to print, spell, read, write sentence answers and work with arithmetic and mathematical concepts. These enable the right brain to change whole concrete images into the words and numbers the left brain understands.
To make the changes from concrete images of information in the right brain into words and numbers the left brain understands, they must be taught their learning skills in complete, structural wholes. A few of these problems and their solutions are listed below. A full coverage of dyslexic learning problems, their causes and solutions can be found in the manual "How the Right Brain Learns" in our webstore.
SEVEN BASIC LEARNING SOLUTIONS FOR DYSLEXICS
1. To print out answers or exercises, the right brain requires lessons in how to use the space on a page to suit
2. To learn to spell a word, the right brain must receive a drawn or printed image of the whole word, not separate parts nor their phonetic sounds.
3. To understand and remember a lesson, it must be taught at one sitting. If not the brain will not understand what was taught and discard it, so that it is totally forgotten the next day.
4. To read fluently and with comprehension, the brain must have a whole decoded reading vocabulary to match the level of difficulty of the material to be read. Reading with understanding cannot be done if the student must first decode the majority of the words in a passage.
5. To compose sentences that are grammatically correct, the student must be taught the parts of speech and the sequence they follow in the English language. Sequence of words and ideas are key to good style and organization of sentences and paragraphs
6. To complete an assignment that is to be marked by the teacher requires a complete set of instructions of how they are to carry out the assignment at every stage. For example they need to know everything from when to start, when to hand it in, where to write their name, whether to use pencil or pen, etc. (See The Five Steps to Learning).
7. To work with mathematical word problems which are very abstract, drawings of word problems should be provided the students so that they can visualize what the letters and numbers represent and calculators to do the arithmetic that cannot be visualized.
THE FIVE STEPS TO LEARNING FOR THE DYSLEXIC
Always remember they think in wholes and depend on having the full picture in order to understand it. Therefore, they must be given answers to the following questions which fill in all the information that complete the assignments.
1. WHY? Why must I learn this? (Purpose)
The right-brained individual must first know WHY they should accept an assignment or do a lesson. If they do not get an explanation, they will not understand the rest of the instructions. Once the student knows how they will benefit from a lesson and grasps the purpose of the related exercise(s), their mind will open up and flood with multi-faceted ideas on the subject.
2. WHAT? What do you expect in my answers? (Lesson to be learned)
This step requires explanations of the information to be analyzed, written about and discussed in an assignment. The students must be taught a new lesson in ways that allow the right brain to analyze and understand “cause and effect”. This means decoding the spelling and meaning of any new words or ideas, and providing ways for the students to focus on and choose the appropriate answers.
The right-brained student must be trained by examples they can see, hear and write down, not just have the instructions dictated or in written form. The right- brained person cannot understand and carry out oral or written directions without seeing the physical materials, hearing a clear, full explanation of their use, and handling the materials. This will implant the ideas of the directions in the brain in complete, three dimensional images. The student must be told and shown by example exactly what you expect to read in their answers to your questions and how you want their answers to be organized.
3. HOW? How do I present my answers? (Format)
Orally, hand printed, written down or typed on computer? In single words, sentences, paragraphs or essays? The skills required are the basic rules of grammar, sentence structure, paragraph and essay formats. The student must be shown full procedures for organizing the ideas and answers either on paper or for oral presentation. The best teaching tool for this is writing examples for them of topic sentences, topic paragraphs and even the parts of the body of the essay.
4. WHEN? When do I start, finish and hand in the assignment? (Completion time)
These students must be instructed when to start the assignment, in class or at home and when they must be finished the work for handing in. Without these instructions the students do not understand the time limits involved. They can also panic if these times are too short for them to complete the amount of work to be done. If the project due date is a long way off they will fail to get their work completed by the expected date because they have no clear concept or understanding of time.
This is an example of thinking, visualizing and understanding in whole concepts. All the parts must be assembled at the start and organized into a whole visual image. Once again the abstract concept of time requires a step by step explanation until the concept is complete. The students may not even start on the assignment until you tell them to do so.
5. OUTCOME? What have I learned? How will I use this information in the future? (Success in learning)
The students must understand the whole picture, its outcome and future applications in lessons or assignments if they are to complete the assignments.
It comes full circle: Why have I done this? What have I learned? What purpose will it serve me in the future? If they don’t have a logical reason to learn the material then they have a difficult time accepting it and getting started. Everything must have a function for the dyslexic student.
In view of the right-brained students’ learning styles and need to receive instructions in whole concepts, these five steps set out the criteria that should be provided. It helps them each time you teach them a new lesson, analyze new information, give out an assignment or expect them to complete the work to meet the teacher’s expectations.
The dyslexic student will always have a lot of questions about their tasks in school. If they speak up in class or at home with many questions and some that seem obvious, they are not trying to be annoying. They really need answers to their questions.
Always be aware of the quiet student who seems to struggle with their work because they also may have many concerns but are too afraid to ask.
DYSLEXIA VICTORIA ONLINE METHOD
"THE RIGHT BRAIN'S LEARNING CODE":
I need a reason that tells me WHY I must process and learn the information you give me.
I can understand what you tell me only if it makes sense to me.
If I am unable to understand because of immaturity, a lack of learning skills or the information is too abstract, I am willing to accept it.
(An example would be learning a computer program like "Microsoft Word". When beginning to learn the program the student will not really understand the "big picture" of Microsoft Word. The student needs to "accept" that they will not know the "big picture" until they have learned many components of the program and it starts to become clear.
Dyslexics have a difficult time with accepting information about anything unless they understand it or have the meaning first. Teaching them acceptance is very important. A teacher could say to them that they may not understand it now but they will eventually and why, then the Dyslexic student can usually internalize this reality and move forward. This becomes a life lesson for them how to adapt around abstract or incomplete information they don't fully comprehend.)
When I have accepted what I must learn, even though I do not understand it, I will learn it by memorizing it.
Once I have understood or accepted the information and memorized it, I will be able to access it whenever I want it, even though I MAY not understand it.
But if I understand the information, I am able to think about it on many levels. I am capable of great things if my learning differences are recognized and I am given the appropriate skills to process and store information.