Monday, August 15, 2011

AVKO Philosophy

AVKO Philosophy

On Teaching

  • Reading/writing upside down are excellent skills for tutors to have. This teaches empathy (teacher has to struggle to read basic words) and facilitates comfort of the student (not crowding/intimidating them), etc.
  • Words that are easier to spell should be taught first.
  • Using multisensory techniques helps facilitate the learning process, especially for students with learning disabilities.
  • Everyday, household items can make excellent teaching aids.
  • Drill work, memorization, and large blocks of instruction/lecture should be avoided.

On Learning

  • Studying and lessons should take place in short, frequent sessions.
  • Mistakes are opportunities to learn. In order to learn from mistakes, you must make them. You must try.
  • Low self-esteem and fear of making mistakes are two big problems that usually need to be addressed before real learning can take place.
  • Copywork is fine (albeit boring) for teaching handwriting, but it is not effective for teaching spelling. However, we find that teaching handwriting through the backdoor of spelling (with word families) is much more useful and will make the students less resentful.
  • Immediate student self-correction is very important for learning and self-esteem.
  • Daily reading and writing are important for engaging in the language and becoming fluent.

On Spelling

  • Students should be able to spell almost all English words, even if they don't know what they mean.
  • The English language is not as "crazy" as people make it out to be. It's just that there are many patterns that are direct imports from foreign languages. These patterns are seldom, if ever, systematically taught. Learn more about the phonic patterns that are seldom systematically taught.
  • The phonic patterns of large (multi-syllabic) words are different from those of smaller (monosyllabic) words.

On Handwriting

  • Ball and stick handwriting exacerbates dyslexic reversals.
  • Handwriting can be taught through the backdoor of spelling; spelling can be taught through the backdoor of handwriting. See Let's Write Right.

On Reading

  • Phonics AND whole language instruction should go hand-in-hand when teaching reading.
  • English cannot be read from left to right (like the Romance languages, Russian, etc.). Saying "just sound it out" to a student is therefore a very cruel (and unhelpful) thing to say as it implies left-to-right phonetics.
  • Reading comprehension is not just the ability to answer a multiple choice question.
  • The human brain automatically and spontaneously tries to make things make sense. It's important to ensure that students can read the words based on the constituent phonic parts -not the picture (drawing) of the word. See Readings for Fluency.
  • It is a faulty assumption that, from grades 1-3, students learn to read and from grade 4 and up, students read to learn.

On Dyslexia

  • Dyslexia testing is only beneficial if you are in need of special services through the ADA, for insurance reasons, etc. Learn more about dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia-related learning problems are largely the result of poor teaching methods and inexperience with working with Orton-Gillingham-based teaching methods. Learn about AVKO's methods.

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