Manufacturing Management (FD) and Language / Comprehension Difficulties
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To ensure that students appreciate the significance of what is being said to them - the subtleties of competing perspectives in a lecture theatre, or the health and safety arrangements in a laboratory/workshop/factory - it is important for staff to ensure that strategies are in place to support the desired understandings. Given that the interface for this is likely to be the quality and degree of comprehensiveness of student note taking, it is important to adopt teaching practices to facilitate this. Students with dyslexia may purchase assistive technology through the DSA for this purpose, and the support of a non-medical helper for note taking and amanuensis.
Verbal Communication - Inclusive Strategies and Adjustments
- Ensure that the overall discourse allows for reiteration, clarification of new terms and regular pauses for reflection and to catch up
- Temper overall speed of delivery
- Provide clear examples and explanations
- Supply handouts and explanatory lists of new concepts and unfamiliar terms
- Utilise other media (DVD, OHP, PowerPoint, etc.) as dynamic means of reiteration
Despite advances in E-learning, the widespread use of hard-copy written material to inform HE study is still fundamental. Although many programmes now exploit the benefits of e-learning, paper-based communication remains important and much that is electronically delivered is ultimately downloaded in paper form. Making this means of communication effective and accessible to students with dyslexia is vitally important for their participation in: lectures; tutorials; laboratories; practice-based learning; and placement.
Written Communication - Inclusive Strategies and Adjustments
- Specialist terms need explaining through word lists and glossaries.
- Style of writing should be clear and concise in all departmental publications including publicity, marketing course handbooks, and learning materials.
- Provide overviews, briefings and summaries for lectures, tutorials, practical and lab work.
- Practical briefs need to be given to laboratory assistants and demonstrators to support the student.
- Supply printed handouts and not hand-written ones.
- Utilise a minimum 12 point font size
- Use Arial or other Sans Serif font
- Don’t mix fonts
- Avoid too much underlining, capitals and italics
- Simplify dense blocks of text
- Use bullet points
- Leave wide spaces
- Left justify text
- Avoid visual clutter, text overlaid on graphics or “ghosting”
- Use a range of presentation devices such as flow charts, diagrams and mind maps
- Use coloured or re-cycled paper
- Make documents available electronically so that students can modify them to meet their needs and to read at their own pace.
Management courses require students to develop at least a basic competence in data handling, statistics and numerical analysis. Although numeracy does not pose a conceptual problem for students with language and comprehension difficulties, mathematics and its attendant symbolic protocols can lead to difficulties with mental arithmetic, calculations, symbol recognition and ordering. Misunderstanding the numerical task because it is embedded within worded problems may lead to an inaccurate response from some students. Directional and orientational confusion can arise when translating symbolic information and may affect tasks such as map reading and understanding timetables.
Mathematics, Statistics and Symbols - Inclusive Strategies and Adjustments
- Present problems in different ways to help those with different learning styles.
- Assistive technologies such as talking calculators and text-to-speech software such as SpeakOut or TextHelp Read and Write (for reading and writing accuracy) may be purchased through the DSAs.
- Allow time, offer clear guidance and present problems plainly to reduce student anxiety and errors.
- Investigate assistive software for concept or mind mapping that can accommodate mathematical formulae, e.g., Mindmanager.
- Ensure that photocopying of timetables is clear.
- Encourage highlighting of key information.
- Allow extra time for proof reading and checking work.
The above information was extracted and amended from: Waterfield, J., West, B. and Chalkley, B. (2006), Developing an inclusive curriculum for students with dyslexia and hidden disabilities. The Geography Disciplines Network (GDN) Inclusive Curriculum Project (ICP), HEFCE Project, University of Gloucestershire, http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/idyslexia.pdf (information accessed March 2008).