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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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With an epidemic of testing in our schools there is a movement against all the tests and in favour of less assessment. It is assessment that these tests are for – to keep check of pupils’ progress. But so much time is devoted to passing the tests that it takes away from actual teaching time. Which doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. However, there is a form of testing that does help children to learn. Testing can not only show whether they understand or remember concepts properly, but actually help pupils learn them. This can be seen in...

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“Docendo discimus” said the Roman philosopher Seneca: by teaching we learn. This old wisdom has been proved true in more modern times and the phenomenon is known as the Protégé Effect. Some of the first indications came from studies that looked at links between birth order and intelligence. Two separate studies showed that first borns are more intelligent than their younger brothers and sisters. The theory is that teaching their younger siblings, not even in a formal way and at a very young age, solidifies the concepts for the older children as well as making them more engaged and aware....

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