Cobblers about Processing Information

April 16, 2018

Cobblers about Processing Information

‘Not everything that counts can be counted,

And not everything that can be counted, counts’


The school once had a visit from a wonderful dance teacher, who took each class for an inspirational session. The down-side was her thick Czechoslovakian accent. My Y1 children gazed at her blankly as she twisted herself into knots, yelling, “Pont yor tos, strat ligs, hens op! ”


However all my dyslexic children followed her instructions without batting an eye-lid! They pointed their toes, legs as straight as sticks, with hands in the air. Why could they do it, leaving all the other children bemused and bewildered?


Well, the answer was because they were used to thinking flexibly. Rather than relying on processing oral instructions, they looked for other clues – watching and copying. They were automatically searching other areas of the brain for strategies so that they could get involved in the learning.


This is the foundation of what is called ‘hemispheric specialisation’. I see it all the time when I am teaching – dyslexic pupils who are searching their minds for a way in. This is why it is so important to give dyslexic children the space, the time and the flexibility to process what you have said. The information will try to move along the strongest, most effective links in the brain.


Let’s now think about spelling. Spelling is traditionally taught using skills which occur on the left side of the brain: the child must process sounds, remember them, match them to the correct symbol and recall the matching symbol quickly. Recent research (Nicolson and Fawcett) has linked these skills to an area of the brain called the Cerebellum. Dyslexics have great difficulty making efficient connections with this area of the brain. The result is that any teaching which is based on those skills which are central to the cerebellar region will malfunction.



It is a bit like tuning into Sky when there is a fault in the system. No matter how many times you try to re-programme your telly, you still end up with a blank screen. You have to find another route, which is usually some very patient youth on the end of a Help-Line!


There is another difficulty. The Cerebellum is just the first link in a long line of left-brain connections located involved in processing language. So if the first link is faulty, the information has no chance of moving along the chain of learning. If teaching continues to use this traditional route, then the dyslexic child may never learn, or at best, the learning will be incomplete.


So what do we do now? Read……

‘Cobblers about Inclusion’

Cobblers about Innovative Thinking


Call Sheila if you wish to find out more.

01297 445464