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.
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
I always see ADD and ADHD as an affect of what is really going on with the students who come to me looking for help and support with their school work. This has helped me to coin a term over the last 4 years called "Diffuse Focus™" to describe what is really happening for them. I equally see these patterns of behaviour carried through to adult life with our business clients!
Dr. Naoisé (Expression Developist™)
From my experiences as a University Level student myself, my role as mentor and my various positions within a 3rd level University including MBA Faculty Manager, Acting Registrar and Masters Coordinator I know what it takes to get through college!
Surprisingly the endless swatting of the course material is a very small part of the road to success...
In February 2009 I started a school, The Homework Club® as what I saw as my lab space in order to develop new teaching methods and understanding of learning. Since then through a number of projects these are the methods and theories that I have developed:
Purple Learning Project®: Understanding of setting up educational environments for all and working simultaneously with all learning styles, difficulties and conditions in the same room.
Purple Profiling™: Unique profiling methods to understand all learners and work effectively with them in the shortest time possible. Now expanded to all business employees and business situations. Focus is on success for each person.
Purple Development™: New development theory to understand patterns in education and to change the Educational Blueprint™. From this a new approach to education and a new focus on expression was developed, Expression Developist™.
The Periodic Table of the Development of Results™, Purple Success™: New unique method and theory to understand the individual elements to get successful results with all ages and individuals in the shortest time possible. Applied at all levels in education and all sized companies, situations and individuals globally.
Purple Processing Scales™: Understanding the individual learning styles and how they work in different situations. Which has lead on to a theory, The Pressure Cooker Effect™.
Purple Success Timescale™: Theory of the development moments in individuals from Child to Adult and their significance in dealing with situations. How Successful You Feel for Life™.
Diffuse Focus™: A new theory on the reasons behind ADD and ADHD. How to develop a new learning approach to accommodate these.
Forget Phonics Reading Method™: A new approach to teaching reading specifically for individuals with dyslexic spectrum reading difficulties. Typically a student can now learn to read and write in 4 weeks.
I have also put significant work in to developing specific programs to get successful results with students with Aspergers. I have developed a number of new programs for specific school issues such as the Primary to Secondary school Transition, Expression Club™ for dyslexic learners to keep them on top over summer months, Dyslexia organisation workshop, Maths Orientation studies for Dyscalculia, Supporting students at home with Aspergers through homework and a Purple Pre-School Success™ program to start dyslexic spectrum students ahead in reading and writing before school. I have currently been putting a lot of work into developing new theories for working with students with Auditory Processing Disorders and Dysgraphia.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly Expression Developist™
Many People did lousy in School & discovered years later they were Dyslexic. (Sound familiar?) Purple Pre-School Success® is a special Programme from Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly Ph.D. the World’s only Expression Developist®. Her educational results with Children & Adults plus Her own academic milestones despite Profound Dyslexia are documented across the Globe. Purple Pre-School Success® is aimed specifically at Parents who found School difficult themselves & have Hereditary Dyslexic Spectrum Conditions they have automatically passed onto their Children. If they found School difficult - their Children will too. Dr. Naoisé picks up the pieces for Children from age 3 NOW instead of being drafted in by Parents, Schools, Teachers & Medical / Psychological Professionals Worldwide when Children are 7 after problems were picked up on too late. Parents can do just 10 minutes a day with their Child of Dr. Naoisé’s Educational Programming Through Play & Children can start at the top in School instead of being way behind. Next step:http://www.confidenceclub.ie/book-appointments/
Divergent is making waves in popular culture with the release of part one of the hollywood movie trilogy inspired by Veronica Roth’s books. This follows the mammoth success of The Hunger Games starring academy award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence.
There are two main themes in Divergent. The first is that it is bad and possibly even fatal to fit into more than one aptitude. The second major theme relates to growing away from your parents.
In Divergent’s futuristic world it is seen as threatening to fit into more than one faction made up of five temperaments which are selfless, peaceful, honest, brave and knowledgeable. It is difficult to compare this directly to personality theory as it is generally regarded that there are in fact sixteen types of people in the real world.
However, this does compare to our four defined learning styles which are the ways that people take in information from the world. Our four categories of psychological profiling methods include auditory, visual, practical and kinesthetic.
All of the students we work with that do not fit in a box and struggle in school have what we call multiplicity. This means, like in Divergent, they have all four aptitudes. They are quite often overwhelmed by the amount of information they absorb from all environments. Multiplicity is what people commonly see as “clever” and “intelligent.” All of our ideas of cleverness and intelligence come from people who can absorb ideas quickly and have a multitude of interests. This is where we break away from the norm.
Multiplicity is drilled out of children in school by age fifteen. Only a very small percentage of the older students we meet have still retained their natural multiplicity. They are quite often seen as “freaks.” Some of them were very heavily medicated before working with us for just having too much energy or being too “distracted.”
In the film Divergent the main character takes an aptitude test at the age of sixteen. This is true to school life. There have been some pretty hilarious conversations within our team about what they were told at sixteen. The Senior D.N.A. Geneticist on our team was told at sixteen that he would never be any good a science.
This brings us to the second main theme in the film and the challenges the main character experiences when she realizes that she cannot follow her family. She does not easily fit into their faction and this is a real life experience for many of our students. Children really struggle when in their teenage years they appear to have nothing in common with their family and parents don’t understand them.
In many cases the students we work with have just simply skipped a generation in aptitudes and personality. It is quite often revealed that they are much more like their grandparents and great grandparents. A mother or father can feel that their children have nothing in common with them and this can also be the case in partnerships where there are children from different relationships.
We work with adult clients in the business world in their late thirties too who had struggled to find their path in life. Having attempted the career path of their parents they have not fitted in. They quite often do not feel any real support or understanding from home about who they really are.
The good news is that it is perfectly alright to be divergent and movies like this can only help to shine a positive light on psychological profiling and our ongoing research in the area of personality types and achievement. Anyone who works in personality theory does so because they have an overwhelming desire to help people find out who they really are and wish to help them to succeed.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly & Marie O'Riordan
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™