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Last week I went to a fantastic talk by Dr Susie Nyman organised by the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre. What an inspirational teacher! If all our children had teachers like Susie they would be flying.

Her hugely motivating talk was about using multi-sensory learning in the classroom and she has some great ideas. The teachers and parents in the audience were hanging on her every word. If you ever have a chance to hear Dr Nyman speak, go.

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Parents hand over a good amount of their child’s education to school and teachers at this point, to specialists and professionals. But even at school age, most of a child’s time is spent at home and learning is done at home too. No matter how dedicated your teachers, the person most interested in your child's success at school will be you.

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Visual learners and children with dyslexia learn more effectively, for instance, when information is brought to life – lifted up from the page or the screen and made to dance in front of them, in ways which allow them to truly engage with it. They need to be able to see the concepts in action and partake in the process, especially in a classroom environment which can, at times, be overwhelming or stifling.

Kate Doehren, Director of Learning Support at Hurstpierpoint College and advocate of Oaka Books, explores how every child must learn the most important lesson of all – how to learn – before they can strive to reach their full potential.  

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While teachers want to stretch and challenge their pupils, as well as having targets to meet, these expectations can backfire when it comes to students with special educational needs. SEN pupils need a sustained approach to their reading. Being given the same material as their fluent-reading peers could fail in the long run. If learners get overwhelmed and have frustrating, difficult experiences of reading then all the positive work will be lost. To create the lifelong habit of reading it might be necessary to take a step back and go slowly. Avoiding demotivation should be more important than short term...

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Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who died in 1938 but his work lives on in classrooms across the world. Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory has been hugely influential since the 60s and breaks down into three main areas: The importance of social interaction in development The “More Knowledgeable Other” The Zone of Proximal Development The concepts might sound a bit abstract but are actually very relevant to a hands-on teaching and learning approach. The theory can be quickly incorporated into homework and revision sessions and already makes up a big part of classroom teaching. The first area, on social interaction,...

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