12Mar/15Off

Response to Highly Damaging TEDx “No Learning Styles” Talk

 

I am genuinely horrified at the support this recent TEDx talk has received.  I feel it is the biggest regression in education in 100 years.  As someone who has successfully worked with thousands of students internationally, and got them all to high achieving results and a sense of belonging in academia, I cannot stand the idea that education is becoming elitist again.  I have received Ability Company Status for making education accessible to all.tedx-black-square-simple-315x315

 

Academics make too many assumptions - which I have had my own personal battles with over the years.  Despite it all, I have earned a Ph.D. and a First Class Honours degree.  My students are always heartened by the fact that if I could do it - so can they.

 

TED and TEDx talks generally enhance our World and make everything possible for people.  I am horrified over this talk because it is so small minded and exclusive in its nature.

 

Not everyone can pick up a book and read it to learn.  Not everyone can see the book.  Not everyone can spell to write or hold the pen.  Do not be presumptive in thinking all visual impaired people are not visual learners.  Many of them are!  All of us who work with students on the autism spectrum know that they process the World very differently to other students.  Their visual and auditory processing has marked differences.

 

My success stories with students have been down pure and simply to the fact that I encourage them to work in the learning style that suits them - despite whatever perceived disabilities they might have.

 

I myself am still very much unable to distinguished phonic sound frequencies and never learned to spell in the way it is predominately taught in school.  I have learned to read and write through purely visual techniques.  I have brought this gift to many others who are now avid readers - despite years of torture in school and feeling inadequate.  I get excited when parents tell me their children will not sleep because they are reading too much or now teaching their siblings to read their way.

 

I hate the idea that kinesthetic learners can be great at sports in school and rubbish at everything else.  This is not acceptable and even our most successful sports heroes still anguish over how badly they did in school.

Practical people are great at the practicals in school but only get half the marks in the subject because the theory defeats them.  Our auditory learners are in constant trouble for talking and often labeled as disruptive chatter boxes.  The number of students labelled as ADHD seems to be growing annually as these students struggle to fit into the constraints of school and find it excessively boring. I certainly do not feel we need to blame our parents for our genes or feel that education is unattainable in any way.

 

We have a duty to understand, care and incorporate these learners into our education systems - not blankly dismiss them all as not existing.  These are many of the reasons why students with learning difficulties and impairments have been marginalised for decades.

 

A better outlook for me has always been that if we get it right for these people we get it right for everyone.  I hope people will start to stop and think before they blankly share this very irresponsible TEDx talk.  I have not even touched on the personality factors involved in education. Most enlightened Educationalists agree that one size does not fit all.  TED is supposed to make us think about our fellow people we share the Planet with.

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly

17Mar/14Off

St. Patrick’s Day 2014: Ireland the Land of Learners

One of the great difficulties with education is that we attempt to fit everyone into the same box.  It is generally accepted that this does not happen but how else can we effectively teach the masses?  Well, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and all that is Irish this is in fact the first mistake when thinking about teaching.  If we instead focus on the learners, the actual students and look at the world from their perspective we may begin to not only accommodate everybody but have them reach their full potential.  Most of all, even experience these people being happy and enjoying education.

So, if we take the learning nation of Ireland, what are we really like here?  We are a country stockpiled with sociable chatterboxes and have a huge number of successful athletics when you think about the size of this land.  We make an impact wherever we go and we are also very generous philanthropically for the size of Ireland.  We as a race contribute hugely to global charities, peace keeping forces and volunteer work.  We are hugely proud of anything remotely Irish.

So, in simple terms that makes us auditory and kinesthetic learners that need huge amounts of encouragement and praise.  We really care about what everyone else thinks of us.  So like most other parts of the world we are a largely extrovert society.  We need to work with others in social settings and we are very social beings.

The hugely interesting fact about auditory learners is that they do not need to just listen, they need to talk as well.  We all know how much we Irish love to speak.  The idea of us starting school at five and learning to be quiet in a classroom situation is just outright ridiculous.  We must admit that we work our way through so much in Ireland by gossiping. The information overload taxi driver, the restroom queue gossip or the local store conversation. It makes us better able to cope with the legendary Irish rainy weather if nothing else.

One of the real difficulties with being an auditory learner (besides just being in trouble in class for talking all of the time) is the rambling way we work, there is no structure.  This is the most common difficulty that many of our students have, especially all the super talkative kinesthetic boys who are brilliant on the sports field but feel like trash at everything else in school.  They simply have no idea how to structure an answer or to focus their thoughts onto the page at hand.

Sure, for the Irish it is perfectly alright and acceptable to write exactly the way you talk too.  The best way to work with auditory kinesthetic learners is through role play.  This is sociable group work that allows us to talk out scenarios.  We get to put ourselves in the situation and we all do great in this part of oral school examinations.  We are a country filled with bucket loads of generationally provided and divided political views.  It is important for us to get to talk about these at length on a regular basis.

Students almost fall off of their chairs with shock when we ask them what they think or have a personal opinion on, but it is so much easier to write about what you feel especially when this is what matters to you when you are kinesthetic.  Normally boys just get to run this out of their systems on the sports field rather than working through it in english or history class.

It is equally vital to allow us Irish to talk about everything that matters to us in our own unique way.  The Irish have a great gift of the gab, the wit that has a name for every object, landmark and sculpture.  We talk about creativity and innovation, this is a wonderful example of innovation with words.  We can express any situation as a joke.  We have always been gifted story tellers and can spin any yarn.

We are also hugely competitive, hence our many sporting heroes, the mark we leave whatever we set our minds to.  Competition is such a great way to inject energy into any learning environment too.

There is a pride deeply engrained in the Irish and as a result we can never cope with being made a fool of in public.  We may try to joke our way out of any situation but it hurts deeply.  Everyone we have ever spoken to in this country has a school story where they lost face and they have never forgotten it.  This is why we have to focus on the learners always, the real people we are helping to grow and develop.  Everyone is different but we all fall into patterns of behavior that can be accommodated.  You can't just take an education model from one country to another and expect it to work, especially since the models are always developed for the teachers and governments not the students.  There are very simple patterns and learning styles but you have to look for them and you have to use each nations strengths and values to achieve what is important for them, even the Irish.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the island of saints and scholars.

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly & Marie O'Riordan

 

18Nov/13Off

Leonardo Da Vinci appeared to suffer from ADHD – how much more could he have achieved in his lifetime?

Leonardo Da Vinci appears to display all the traits of having had ADHD. For me having this condition is an effect of so much happening below the surface and Da Vinci demonstrates this better for me than many of the modern people who are rolled out as examples to others.

It is long thought that Da Vinci was dyslexic, especially with the examples of his mirrored writing. His note books have proven a challenging task in fact for any historian trying to document his work - in one sense he seems highly visual and creative - there is no other inventor that left as much of a paper trail behind but on the other hand they prove very difficult to read because of there presentation. Something many a teacher will sympathize with correcting a dyslexics paper!

But what I feel is much more interesting is the diversity of Leonardo Da Vinci's interests. I have long seen and proven the correlation between what I call multiplicity and ADHD. Multiplicity is the ability to take in information in a multiple of ways - Visual, Practical, Auditory and Kinesthetic - no wonder people with ADHD seem to have overload - jump around and get distracted easily. Da Vinci was very obviously Visual, Practical and Auditory - the Kinesthetic is hard to see as you need to know more about someone on an emotional level. He was drawn to representing characters and dwelled on the faces of the characters in his paintings - his portraits were very emotional which gives us a clue that he was kinesthetic. Mona Lisa's smile has captured the hearts of so many millions of people over the decades and even spent time in Napoleon's bedroom!

But the above would explain why he jumped around for project to project - did have prolonged periods of concentration and focus on topics he was interested in - can be described as a painter, sculptert, engineer, strategist, philosopher, writer, inventor and on and on... Many of my ADHD students show such diverse talents and interests. In fact I'm working with one 15 year old at present that I see as a Da Vinci type!

The Flip side of this of course is that Da Vinci became distraced easily - jumped from project to project. Didn't complete many commissions - created a great bigger picture but didn't focus on the details, like for example the long term lasting effects of the painting durability of the new technique he developed to paint the Sistine Chapel so he could paint slower and obsess over the faces for certain characters in the painting.

Leonardo Da Vinci only completed 25 paintings in his lifetime as a result of the random nature of his life. Many of his ideas where not built or created until hundreds of years after his death - such as his bridges or his famous bronze horse. Some of this can be put down to being far ahead of his time but in other cases I see great similarities between the students and adult clients we work with in Confidence Club and The Forever Method. Many of our clients seem to have the same "self-destruct button" that prevented Da Vinci from developing more of his ideas into reality. I meet many students who either focus too much on small details of interests or jump randomly to the next fad or interest. Their work will often be presented in as erratic a nature as the hundreds of notebooks Da Vinci left behind - interestingly he always wanted his notebooks to be published. We so enjoy taking people with these extreme levels of information overload and creativity to their true potential. Da Vinci is someone I would have loved to have had the opportunity to have worked with!

 

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly   Expression Developist™

 

9May/12Off

Ireland as a land of Learners

One of the great difficulties of education is we try to fit everyone in to the same box - it's generally accepted that this doesn't happen but - there's the "but" how else can we teach the masses?

Well that's the 1st mistake - thinking about the "teaching". If we instead look at the learners - the students and look at the world from their perspective we may begin to not only accommodate everyone but have them reach their full potential. Most of all have them be happy and enjoy doing it!

So if we take the learning nation of Ireland - what are they like?

Well we have a nation of sociable chatterboxes that have a huge number of successful athletics when you think about the size of the country.  We make an impact wherever we go. We are also very generous again for the size of Ireland we contribute hugely in charity donations, peace keeping and volunteer work . We are hugely proud of anything irish!

So in simple terms that makes us Auditory, Kinaesthetic learners that need huge amounts of encouragement and praise. We really care about what everyone thinks of us, so like most other parts of the world we are a largely extrovert society. We need to work with others in social settings.

13Mar/12Off

eBook now available for download!

The Purple learning method ebook is now available for Download!

Watch the video to discover The Purple View

18Nov/11Off

What is the Purple Learning Project?

This is a short clip from the Aspire workshop held 11-11-11 at Independent colleges Dublin on parents support their children at home.

In this live setting I talk about what the purple learning project really means and the impacts I hope it will have on the future of the school environment.

The Purple Learning Project

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly

 

 

 

   

Introduction

Welcome to the Purple Learning Project.

One step closer to fulfilling a personal dream of mine - "to make school a happier, creative, more successful and enjoyable place for all Students, regardless of their differences"... Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly.

International Educational Programmes from The Homework Club & Confidence Club to help expand my inclusive Education Methods such as Purple Profiling, Purple Processing Scales & Purple Success that I have devised over the last 7 years through experiences with thousands of People from all backgrounds.

These methods now applied to the Business and Sport worlds with record results in the fastest timescales known.

Leading Personality Theory Research leading to the Psychology of Success™.

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