Professor Jenny Thomson

Professor Jenny Thomson

Coursera logoStarted Today!  Free Coursera course with Dr Jenny Thompson from the University of Sheffield. For those of you unfamiliar with Coursera, these are MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. Anyone can watch the videos, take quizzes, and try their hand at assignments for free, but certificates of completion are also available for a small fee.  Join the course HERE.

We first spoke to Jenny before our Conference on Dyslexia and Talent. At that time, Jenny was still in her training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dyslexic Advantage is delighted to see that one of its videos is included in course resources. It is also refreshing to see that the course discusses the positive aspects of dyslexia (including unusual aptitudes) in week 3. We hope that discussing the ‘upside’ of dyslexia becomes increasingly the norm rather than exception for professional training programs focusing on dyslexia.

The course syllabus is posted below.

Week 1 – An overview

Personal testimonies; multilingual aspects; costs to the individual and society of class failure and drop-out; models of reading acquisition (the ‘decoding’ and ‘direct’ paths); automatization; recent scientific discoveries

Week 2 – Definitions and identification of dyslexia

Causes; identification; numerous activities include simple methods of assessment (notformal diagnosis) and examination of samples of writing; discussion around pros and cons of ‘labelling’ a child

Week 3 – ‘Co-morbidity’, and psychological and social aspects

The ‘dys’-constellation (dyspraxia, dyscalculia etc); audition; vision; loss of self-esteem; long-term effects of school drop-out and antisocial behaviour – evidence from Canada, the UK and USA; ‘positive’ aspects of dyslexia and unusual aptitudes; testimonies from achievers with dyslexia

Weeks 4 and 5 – Practical teaching approaches

General principles of inclusion; structured, multisensory, phonics-based and metacognitive approaches; summaries of recent influential reports of best practice from France, the UK and USA; applying these approaches across the curriculum; learning styles; reading, spelling, comprehension and composition; visualization and mind-mapping

Week 6 – Study skills, aids and accommodations

Attention, memory and organization; technological aids especially for reading and writing; examples of accommodations for formal assessments and examinations