It would be so easy if all you had to do was talk about your story or be academically brilliant to change not only how others achieve but perceptions of what they can achieve.
I have always wondered why ideas of what dyslexics can do have not changed with all the successful famous people from Jamie Oliver to Albert Einstein. If all these people had done so much before me, why was I told at 17 I could not do any of it and that going to college was and I quote, “above my status”.
If only what you had done could change the perceptions of how others approach the next generation.
One of the biggest frustrations for me was it never mattered what I had done before – I was always judged at the next stage of education. So even though I got over 500 points in my leaving cert and was in the 25% of the country the year I sat it when I got to college, lecturers refused to help me with notes because “I shouldn’t be there and sure what was I going to do in the future anyway” and when I got a 1st for my degree and went on to my PhD I was given a lecture on the pyramids of education in my viva as to why I didn’t deserve to be there at this level. It never mattered at any level what I had done before or what others had done before me. There was still a concrete idea that I couldn’t be academically successful.
But almost 6 years on since I started my own education projects to develop methods to change education I now understand why I didn’t want to be a motivational speaker. Why my approach has all been about action.
In order to really change the patterns of generations and the educational blueprint that has built up over decades you have to create an experience for people. They have to feel and know the difference.
In order to be truly successful people have to experience what it is like to learn differently – they have to understand how they absorb information, how they process it and how they can be truly successful.
Yes, the methods seem very simple to me and are easily applied to all as they are universal but the crux is that they have to be applied to real people. Then for every person I help to see differently and every family that is successful or every business they will approach the next set of people in a new light. I was told recently that “you have made me look differently at my employees and I can see how they learn now” and this was from working with someone’s child. But by understanding their own child in a different way now from experience they see their own employees differently. I have always thought that business had the ability to drive education and that is why I work across both sectors now.
When I set out almost 6 years ago I had three objectives:
1: Literacy and intellegnce not in the same sentence.
2: Make school more enjoyable for everyone.
3: Make companies understand how everyone works differently and stop focusing on the difference.
I guess I have added a 4th one – to make everyone successful.
Almost 6 years on I have a set of methods to apply universally to the whole world to do just this – but it’ll never be about me just talking about them. It’s all about making as many people as possible experience something new that will gradually change the world over time. You can never go back once you have looked at people in a new light. You can never expect a dyslexic to be defined by their reading age once you have seen them get 9 out of 10 in the spelling test or 44 out 45 in the maths test. You now expect them to achieve academically and in life.
I have never been one for talking about what I’m going to do – I always just did it and now I understand why that action changes the blueprint for the future.
I’m an expression developist now because I express myself often but I give this ability to others too.
Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly.