How Tutors and Lecturers can help
(A guide from the Language and Literacy Unit: Southwark College)
Present your material in a variety of ways:
Move from particular examples to general concepts as well as from the
general concept to specific examples.
Emphasise 'right brain' learning experience. For example visual-spatial
experience imagery, music and holistic approaches.
Discuss the how and why of learning with students:
Explain why you are doing a particular activity - what particular skills
you hope to develop.
Discuss with students how they intend to go about learning something -
what specific strategies may work for them.
Help students realise the necessity and value of practising to consolidate
learning and acquire a new skill
Encourage people to make their own meaningful connections to what they are
Encourage students to take charge of their learning:
Offer a variety of methods and approaches for them to select or discover
which works best for them.
Set up situations where they can explain or demonstrate things to each
other, work in pairs or groups, select activities or projects, set goals.
Stress self-checking and give plenty of opportunity for self-assessment.
Introduce learning through content:
Discuss language particular to your subject: vocabulary, new terminology,
Break down processes into steps with opportunity for feedback to check
understanding and develop language skills.
Encourage students to ask questions: questions are a way of checking our
hypothesis about what is being presented.
Give students opportunities to observe models, examples of what they
should be trying to do.
Offer specific help with:
make your own notes available
write the main points and terminology on board
make handouts clear and easily accessible
provide reading list with selected key works (especially articles and
clearly structured and presented materials).
offer auditory-visual sources on subject matter. For example, Open
University programmes, documentaries, discussions on TV. These often give
structure which can be used.
offer samples of written work: essays, reports, projects.
give help with planning, structure, organisation.
Be specific and practical about the written material that students are
to do. Write everything down clearly. Do not expect students to remember.
- writing conventions - introductions, sub-headings. conclusions etc.
- identifying main points.
- relevant versus irrelevant data.
- selection and inclusion of quotations and references.
- ordering points and making transitions between points.
- make sure instructions are clear and written down for student to
- be explicit in expectations.
- help students to formulate questions.
- be clear in your own communications.
- give oral assessment opportunities.
- be aware of the extra time, effort and concentration the dyslexic
student needs to bring to tasks involving written language.
The way you present your material to be learned will directly influence the
learning skills developed by your students.
- some students can only generalise from lots of specific examples and
- translating three dimensions to two dimensions and vice-versa is a
- when a student makes an error in a sequence you may need to retrace
all the steps with them rather than just point out where they went wrong.
- some students may be easily distracted by noise, activity or visual
- dyslexic students may need more time to absorb information.
- try to break up learning sessions, discussions, etc. to allow this
processing to happen.
- the final stage of learning is being able to 'teach' some else - make
opportunities for students to do this (through talking, writing,