Thursday, 20 April 2006

One-size-fits-all education doesn't fit dyslexics

As today's study today in the New Zealand Herald has perhaps reinforced, it’s not that dyslexics can’t read, it’s just that they read and learn differently to other students. There's only one real problem with that: in the inflexible state system dyslexic children are required to learn by the one-size fits-all system in which children will either fit, or fail.

So it’s not that so many young dyslexics fail in New Zealand schools, it’s that the state’s factory schools are failing them. The well-known motto of successful teachers of dyslexics is instructive: “If I don't learn the way you teach me, teach me the way I learn." That’s something a factory schooling system can never allow. Instead, high-achieving dyslexics of the past such as Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein would simply fall through the cracks, just as too many of them are now.

LINKS: Auckland research breakthrough throws light on dyslexiaNZ Herald

How to teach people with dyslexia – Bright solutions for dyslexia

TAGS: Education, Politics-NZ


  1. Another consequence of the failure to adequately teach dyslexics is a high crime rate.

    Dyslexia affects mainly boys, they fail to achieve in school, become frustrated angry and demoralised, can't find employment on leaving school and turn to crime. You don't need to read to burgle a house or steal a car.

  2. First you trumpet claims that NZ should shift all teaching of reading to a single approach (phonetics). Then you condemn NZ's schools for all using a single approach to teaching reading. You're lucky the Logic Police don't come around with the Big Batons.

    Actually, they don't all use the same approach - effective teachers tend to be pragmatic and alter their approach to match their kids. Flexibility is a hallmark of effective teaching. Compare our teachers to the godawful US school system (which tends to be very text-book focussed and inflexible) and you'll see just how good we are. We do really well in the teaching of reading by international standards - especially with our reading recovery programs for poor readers (and dyslexics!).

    Our school system has problems. NCEA's obsessive focus on forcing standards-based qualifications into upper secondary school is a disaster (too much assessment, not enough learning). But you keep taking one of the things our education system is very best at - teaching of reading in primary schools - and pretending we're bad at it. I just don't get why.


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