Monthly Archives: November 2010

Irlen Syndrome- A Teen’s Summary

Have you seen David Accola’s video on YouTube about Irlen? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N5qbMFtKQ4

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Renowned education expert Professor John Hattie has been appointed Director of research at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

John Hattie to head research unit at the University of Melbourne.

Renowned education expert Professor John Hattie has been appointed Director of research at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

Hattie is widely regarded as a leading education authority. His influential 2008 book, Visible Learning, is believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into what factors improve student learning.

Involving more than 80 million students from around the world and bringing together 50,000 smaller studies, the study found positive teacher-student interaction is the most important factor in effective teaching.

Currently a member of the Faculty of Education and Director of Visible Learning Labs at the University of Auckland, Hattie regularly advises governments in New Zealand, Australia and the US.

He has authored or co-authored 12 books and more than 500 papers, and said he is looking forward to supporting researchers in MGSE.

“There are so many excellent projects and people within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and it will be an exciting and enjoyable process to maximize their impact on education in Australia and beyond,” he said.

Building a Love of Reading

I am planning my talk to our new parents for next year and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the partnership between school and home. Research shows that student performance and results improve when parents help at their school is some capacity. Here are a few ideas that you as a parent can be doing with your child pre school and even in the early years of school to develop a love of Reading. If you would like a copy of the handout subscibe to my blog and I will send you a free copy.

 Cheers Christine

The Irlen Revolution

School Psychologist Response to Critics

I am in my 31st year as a school psychologist.  I am so grateful to have learned of the Irlen Method relatively early on in my career.  Like you, I was very skeptical when I first heard of this process.  It sounded too easy; another educational fad.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to witness first-hand the difference identification and treatment can make for someone who has this visual-perceptual disorder. In my school system, we have seen test scores increase significantly when students are regularly screened for this problem.  In addition, teachers report that the attitude their students have toward reading has greatly improved; students come to class eager to read.The local community college now has students complete a Reading Strategies Questionnaire when they enroll in the Adult Basic Skills Program.  The questionnaire helps identify students who need to be screened so that they can use a colored overlay, if needed, to take their placement tests.  This process was implemented after test administrators saw test scores improve anywhere from 1.3 to 6.5 grade levels (as measured by the TABE) for students who had originally failed the test.  (The students were screened after they failed the test, given an overlay, and took a second form of the test.  No instruction was provided in the interim.) By the way, students are allowed to use colored overlays on the GED in addition to other placement tests.  They are allowed on End of Grade and End of Course tests in North Carolina.  They are allowed on tests such as the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, etc., with prior documentation.There is now a great deal of research documenting the effectiveness of this process.  Among the most exciting are SPEC scans documenting the differences in brain functioning and the improvements made with color modification.

I have worked with the Irlen Method for over 20 years now.  During that time, I have met many, many individuals who have suffered needlessly because this simple screening was not made available to them.  This process should be available in all schools.  I encourage everyone in this field to keep an open mind and look further into this process. 

Susan Youngman,School Psychologist

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, North Carolina

Do You Want to be a Great Teacher?

It’s that time of year when reports are due and teachers are busy finishing the testing of  their students. They are exhausted! I have a mantra that I like to say : ‘every day is a new day’. I really like that one because it works especially well when you have had a very bad day at school.  It was then that a timely article came to my inbox from D. Trinidad Hunt, and I thought I would share it at our next Literacy PLT. I’m also pasting it here for you. Have a look.

Jim Collins in his now classic book From Good to Great said the hardest leap to make is the leap from good to great. Collins was talking about making the leap as an organization. Yet the same thing can be applied to leadership in schools and in the classroom.

The longest mile seems to be the stretch from being good at what we do to becoming great at what we do. There is a tendency to accept good as ‘good enough’. But this will never make you a great teacher and great teachers are made not born. There is a choice involved and practice required.

The first step in this journey necessitates becoming aware of this tendency to accept good as ‘good enough’. When you feel you are a good teacher, reflect for a moment… has good become good enough? Are you settling for less than your personal professional best?

If you became a teacher, as I did, because of the love of children and a passion for learning, then you won’t settle for good. But how do you recognize the plateau of rest and status quo Vs reflection and preparation (to move to higher heights).

I can remember the moment that I confronted this place in my own life. I had taught for twenty years. I was tired of it. I wanted to quit. In truth, I had hit the wall! And the wall was the barrier between being a good teacher and moving up to the level of great.

There was another mountain peak before me and I knew that it would require all of my resilience, my grit and my commitment. It would require a critical eye, and authentic self-assessment. I would have to be brutally honest with myself about my inner feelings as well as my outer actions.

In fact, I would have to change and from my perspective at that time change took work! The stages I went through look like this:

Denial: In my mind I didn’t need to improve. I wanted to quit. It all looked too hard for me and I justified these feelings by saying it was time to change profession. I explained it as burn out. I denied that what might be up here was a breakthrough. If I admitted it, I might have to embrace the change and I was not ready to do that!

Acceptance: This is not the acceptance of a need to change. This was the beginning of a realization and an acceptance that something was going on with me. I started to become aware that something was trying to break through into consciousness. I sensed that there was a deeper message here. I began to feel that I needed to listen to it.

Willingness: Then came the stage of willingness. I was now willing to make a change. I was in the middle of a full teaching schedule and I wasn’t willing to leave all the people I was teaching in the lurch. So maybe, I thought, I better let go of my resistance and go with the flow, at least for the moment!

Decision: So I made a decision to put one foot in front of the other and really give it my all for the next six weeks.

Action: Having made this decision, I went to work. I taught with all my heart and at the end of the day I assessed my score on a metaphorical score card made of the questions below. I practiced my craft and I assessed my results with an intention to improve daily.

After six months I was renewed with the love of the game of teaching and I was getting better at it every single day. That’s when I realized that there is no arrival. Every day is a new day. Every mountain top reveals a view of another and even higher mountain behind it.

So here are a few mantras that have helped me continue my passage from good to great:

  • Put one foot in front of the other.
  • As I make a positive choice, that choice begins to remake me!
  • Remember to remember why I do what I do!
  • Gratitude is my attitude of choice!

Along with the mantras, here are a few questions that help me keep expanding and growing daily.  I invite you to ask these questions of yourself every day for 30 days. I guarantee that if you are honest and work at it, they will change your life.

  1. What have I done today that demonstrates being a true and great professional in my field?
  2. What have I done inadvertently that might demonstrate something different from this?
  3. What do I need to do differently tomorrow to more fully express my love for those I serve and my passion for my profession?