Workshop for educators aims to enhance support for adult learners with dyslexia
With considerable courage and trust in his colleagues, one of the participants of the Mike Styles’ workshop Supporting adult dyslexics in tertiary education and training found this the opportune time to announce his dyslexia to his professional peers, something he had been wanting to do for some time.
He told us afterwards, “....... there are still adults working and studying with dyslexia, unaware and uncertain of their potential. Stigma is still attached to the word dyslexia - I am conscious of its misunderstanding for some people, that is why it took me until 9:37am on the 17th of February 2015 to 'come out' (as it were) in Mike’s workshop lecture!”
The delivery of this workshop on dyslexia at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) came about through the commitment of Lara Topping, Learning and Support Services Manager at the insitute. Over the past few years, her team had become aware of the growing need for a comprehensive staff training session on dyslexia. They discovered this formally through surveys and learning and teaching forums, and informally during “water cooler conversations”. It was clear that students with dyslexia were studying at all levels of NMIT’s programme areas. This workshop, co-developed by Ako Aotearoa and Primary ITO, provided a great starting point for enhancing staff capabilities in this area.
Mike’s in-house workshop offered many practical solutions for addressing national strategic education priorities relating to students with dyslexia. These included:
- improving adult literacy and numeracy
- assisting at-risk young people into work
- boosting Māori and Pasifika student achievement
Mike also demonstrated a selection of technological aids which dyslexic students could use within blended and online learning environments, which align well with NMIT’s organisational goal of embracing innovative learning.
Ultimately, though, this workshop was really about educators wanting to help people succeed. The feedback from the 23 NMIT staff that attended the workshop was extremely positive, and includes comments such as;
“…. I want to say how fantastic it was to hear the facts with a 'no-nonsense' delivery about dyslexia …. the content was engaging and informative, the informal, practical use of discussion benefited all who attended.”
NMIT now has a core group of informed staff with a good understanding of how better to support and empower dyslexic students in achieving their goals.
Building your in-house professional development package
The NMIT PD initiative offers an excellent example of how Ako Aotearoa works with organisations to support professional development in-house. We encourage you to contact our Northern, Central and Southern Regional Hubs to discuss what could work for your organisation, staff and budget.