Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dyslexia: Empowering Learning - Olive Hickmott

Call for fresh approach to develop accelerated learning skills in school

December 2013 News from Olive Hickmott of Empowering Learning

– Neuroscience research shows that effective mental imagery skills are missing for those with poor literacy, numeracy, concentration and also many with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), such as Dyslexia.

Olive Hickmott, expert learning coach and founder of Empowering Learning, has observed and studied the learning strategies employed by skilled and confident learners.

Observing best practice amongst skills and confident learners, it is clear that the ability to generate mental images and control their location, motion, size, brightness, etc are essential skills.

She has developed a teaching model which both enhances and controls mental imagery and has taught 100s of Practitioners worldwide.

100% of those who are diagnosed with Dyslexia are not using mental imagery for words or numbers and many can’t keep even a single letter still.

The skills to control mental images can be taught quickly and used immediately to accelerate progress. 

Mental imagery offers a fresh, enjoyable and simple skill for teachers, parents and children with SpLD.

In England there is an increase in the pupil premium available in 2013/14, with the amount per child in primary school, rising from £900 to £1300.

Hickmott is calling for this increase to be used most effectively to ensure children are not just supported in their confusion, but are taught new skills that will last a lifetime.

As we digest the OECD’s test results, literacy and numeracy levels in the English speaking countries still have much room for improvement.

As English has many irregularities and homophones to confuse our children, using mental imagery effectively accelerates learning and helps children to develop the necessary skills to overcome many of their challenges.

Teaching these skills within schools and to families has created exceptional results. Several symptoms of SpLDs can be reduced or even eliminated.

Hickmott quotes that, “The National Curriculum calls for multi-sensory teaching and learning”.

She comments, “Being in control of your mental imagery is the fundamental basis for visual learning. Teachers however are not being taught how to help a child hone their mental imagery skills for literacy, numeracy and concentration."

"Teachers can add the skills, as Continuous Professional Development (CPD), in just a few hours on-line or through INSET training."

"This will enhance their teaching and provide a very sustainable and cost effective way of addressing the challenges of conditions such as Dyslexia."

"This is particularly vital amongst children aged 4-7 years as a preventative measure and also to ensure that they do not lose confidence and self-esteem”.

Hickmott observes, “This is not just another spelling or reading strategy, it enables teachers and families to understand more about how we learn."

"Mental imagery has been used in sport for many years to model excellence and every day we see dramatic results in working with children, particularly those with Dyslexia."

"Following the latest figures from OECD, the strategy to teach the skill that experts already use, must be considered."

"Developing the use of mental imagery as a technique in schools offers an effective starting point for all aspects of literacy teaching. If you know something works why wouldn’t you try it? ”

Not only do the children benefit, the family benefits as a whole and Hickmott actively encourages parents to get involved.

One such family is that of Jane Smith. Jane’s partner and nine-year old daughter both showed signs of Dyslexia and as a result sought help from Hickmott. Jane comments,

“When I sent my partner and daughter to see Olive, I expected them to come home with some new skills to help them improve their reading and spelling. I was not prepared to be totally amazed at the results!”

She continues, “The stress levels in the house have gone right down, confidence has grown, there is more co-operation and some very happy people.”

Hickmott concludes, “We have a great opportunity to make a real difference in teaching children with poor literacy, Dyslexia and other SpLDs."

"The bonus of using this approach is that it will accelerate any techniques that are already in place. The increased pupil premium offers a real opportunity to address Dyslexia and other learning difficulties."

"Let’s not waste this opportunity and instead take up this challenge to enable our children to learn in a way that best suits them.”

www.empoweringlearning.co.uk , www.cpdoutofthebox.co.uk and the blog at www.olivehickmott.co.uk

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