Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dyslexia - Teacher's role & Lesson 10

First and foremost primary school teachers should be well informed as to what dyslexia is.

When I spoke with primary schools teachers about 5 years ago I was shocked that not one of the more than 10 teachers I spoke to knew what dyslexia was.

One of my favourite readers from US made the following comments: “ the US, none of the teaching programs teach what dyslexia is either. I know FOUR people who have received their Masters in Education (specializing in reading) who have graduated in the past 2 years and have not heard of dyslexia. I do not understand this at all. I even asked our superintendent of curriculum. He said it was taught in the 1960s, but it must not be taught now if I am getting blank stares and stammers from my acquaintances who have gotten their Masters in Education. I cannot even begin to fathom why this is given all the research that is abundant.”

I thought we were bad but the same is true of the US. The teachers there are just as ill informed as our teachers here. There are many other readers from US who have e-mailed me and said that they are glad they have found my blog. Most of them have been made to believe that dyslexia is more or a less like a disease and that a dyslexic needs therapy and medication to be cured of dyslexia. There are people around the world who still write articles and say that dyslexics are learning disabled.

Pupils in primary schools are given the report card at the end of the year. Most parents who see the report card hardly understand what the grades mean. If the grades are 'C' and below the parent will reprimand the child and ask him to study harder. The following year the child will fare worse than he did the previous year as he has not mastered what he should have mastered in the first year. Of course he will not be able to follow what the teacher is now teaching. A dyslexic child will therefore slowly go into a shell and if there is no intervention he will believe that he is stupid and he will be considered 'stupid' by his class mates and even by his teachers.

This is where the teacher plays an important role. He will be able to see that the child is reading below grade level. The parents will not know he has a reading disability until the teacher informs them.

A teacher is in a unique position to assess a student because he spends a lot of time with his students. A teacher sees a student in a wide variety of academic and social settings. Therefore a teacher can provide parents with important information about his students. The teacher will be able to point out areas of strengths as well as weaknesses. A teacher is a skilled observer and will be able to give helpful feedback to a parent.

If a child is not reading at grade level do not feel that given time he will be able to catch up.

Simply put, how can a child read grade three books if he does not know his alphabets? How is he expected to catch up? It is obvious that the child will fall further and further behind as he goes to a higher grade.

As I have pointed out in my blog earlier there should be immediate intervention and a one to one teaching should be implemented. If need be the child should be retained in the same grade for a year and moved to another school if possible. The saying goes that time heals all wounds. A dyslexic child who is retained will soon forget he is behind a year especially if he is transferred to a different school. Once he is taught on a one to one basis he will catch up and probably be promoted to his grade level just like John was.

A one to one tutoring for an hour a day for six months to a year will be enough to make him read well.

Parents should also review their child’s school work and correct his errors in his work book. If he is not corrected then he will have hardly learnt much.

For lesson ten click here:


Dr. Liza said...

In Gov School now, they have introduce LINUS (LITERASI DAN NUMERASI SEKOLAH RENDAH) MODULE for primary one. So probably this module is helpful in screening a child with dyslexia. And hopefully primary school teachers would have a general exposure regarding dyslexia.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Dr.Liza. I am glad to hear that schools have a module that may be helpful in screening a dyslexic child.