Thirty students sit in cramped desks facing a blank whiteboard while their teacher paces up and down the aisles lecturing on the Industrial Revolution. She calls on students to “participate” in the lesson, asking them to answer questions with memorized knowledge. Bianca is randomly asked by her teacher who it was that built the first steam boat and though she studied late into the previous night and Bianca definitely knows the answer, it doesn’t come to her right away. The other students laugh, the teacher keeps walking and Bianca, frustrated and ashamed, has lost her chance to prove her knowledge.
Sadly many classrooms, like this one, are not conducive to children with dyslexia and make learning very frustrating and even impossible. The environment of many in-person classrooms prizes speed and memorization over individualism and true understanding of the material. Students must raise their hands to be heard or risk falling behind. Students with dyslexia feel pressured in this type of classroom and many experience years of being made fun of because they can’t answer questions or complete lessons like teachers want them to.
Instead of making students feel alienated and allowing them to get left behind, online school empowers students with dyslexia. Here are a few ways that online school is good for dyslexic students.
1. Students are empowered to feel like they belong
Online school allows students to read, learn and contribute at their own pace. They won’t be put in the spotlight if they need to ask a question and students will never be suddenly called on. Typing instead of talking allows students to take all the time they need to formulate their words, thus students with dyslexia will feel no pressure. Students will also have more freedom to communicate one-on-one with teachers, saving them from the burning judgment of other students.
2. Students are in control of their lessons and can utilize their strengths
Because online school students with dyslexia don’t experience pressure or rush to get material done, they are truly in control of the material they turn in and present to their teachers and classes. For example, many students with dyslexia read slowly and some have trouble even reading their own writing. When online school teachers give handouts or ask students to read a lesson, students can take their time with the reading. There is no need to complete an assignment in the next thirty minutes so a student will never feel urgent artificial pressure. Students can even take advantage of computer reading programs or voice recognition software, tools that aid in their learning which are not easily accessible in a traditional classroom.
3. Emphasis is placed on individual learning
With online school, courses focus on empowerment and learning style. Teachers work with students to tailor instruction to their goals, interests and the ways they learn best. Many students with dyslexia learn best visually which online high school provides plenty of through whiteboards, webcams, sharing desktops, Skype, streaming videos, online textbooks and virtual labs. Students can also refer to a lesson as many times as they want and modify it to meet their learning styles.
Most importantly, students with dyslexia simply need to be encouraged, treated with respect, and given the freedom to learn in their own ways. At CMASAS, instructors and Personalized Learning Coaches will always go above and beyond to serve the student as an individual and empower them to meet all of their educational goals.