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Motivating students with Dyslexia

Author: admin

Teaching languages to students with dyslexia presents unique challenges that require educators to be knowledgeable about effective language teaching strategies and adept at fostering motivation and self-esteem.

In this article, we will look into the theory of motivation, explore the issues surrounding self-esteem in dyslexic students, and provide practical tips for language teachers worldwide on how to motivate their students with dyslexia.

About Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects around 10 to 15% of the population.

One of the main issues around dyslexia is that the majority of students with dyslexia don’t know they have it. They just seem to be slow readers and learners, many times sitting in the back of the class without participating and, in some cases, even showing disruptive behavior.

Without dyslexia awareness as well as adequate help and attention from their teachers, they end up with very low self-esteem and a total lack of motivation to learn anything new in life.

Group of students not very motivated

As teachers, we can do a lot to understand the circumstances of these students, to boost their self-esteem, and to motivate them to make the most of their learning journey.  

Understanding Motivation

Motivation is a crucial factor in the learning process, and it plays an even more significant role for students with dyslexia.

In the context of dyslexia, motivation is often influenced by the challenges these students face in reading, writing, and other language-related tasks.

According to the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), individuals are driven by the innate need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. For dyslexic students, fostering a sense of autonomy and competence is particularly vital.

The Challenge of Self-Esteem

Dyslexic students frequently grapple with low self-esteem due to the persistent difficulties they experience in traditional language learning environments.

Struggling with reading and writing can lead to feelings of inadequacy and frustration. It is essential for teachers to be aware of these challenges and actively work towards building a positive and inclusive learning atmosphere.

Tips for Motivating Students with Dyslexia

1. Create a Supportive Environment:

Establish a classroom atmosphere that encourages collaboration, understanding, and acceptance. Celebrate diversity and create an environment where students feel safe expressing their thoughts without fear of judgment.

2. Individualized Instruction:

Recognize the unique learning needs of each dyslexic student. Tailor your teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles, incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements. Personalized instruction enhances a student’s sense of competence.

3. Set Realistic Goals:

Work with students to set achievable, short-term goals. Celebrate small victories, and help students recognize their progress. Success breeds motivation, and setting realistic goals contributes to a positive learning experience.

4. Incorporate Multisensory Techniques

Utilize multisensory teaching methods to engage various senses in the learning process. Combining visual, auditory, and tactile elements can enhance comprehension and retention for dyslexic students.

5. Provide Timely and Specific Feedback:

Offer constructive feedback that focuses on the effort and progress rather than the end result. Positive reinforcement and specific feedback help build confidence and motivation.

6. Encourage Self-Advocacy:

Teach students about dyslexia and empower them to communicate their needs. Encourage them to advocate for themselves in the classroom, fostering a sense of autonomy and ownership over their language learning.

7. Promote a Growth Mindset:

Cultivate a growth mindset by emphasizing the idea that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance. Encourage students to view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

8. Use Technology to Support Learning:

Leverage assistive technologies such as speech-to-text software, audiobooks, and dyslexia-friendly fonts. These tools can help level the playing field for dyslexic students and enhance their learning experience.

9. Celebrate Diversity in Learning Styles:

Emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Celebrate the diversity of learning styles within the classroom, highlighting the strengths that dyslexic students bring to the table.

10. Foster a Growth-Oriented Community:

Build a sense of community within the classroom by promoting collaboration and peer support. Encourage students to share their experiences and strategies, creating an inclusive environment that values everyone’s unique contributions.

Overcoming Challenges and Fostering Self-Esteem

Motivating students with dyslexia requires a multifaceted approach that addresses their unique challenges while fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment.

By understanding the theory of motivation, acknowledging the impact of self-esteem issues, and implementing practical tips, language teachers can play a pivotal role in empowering dyslexic students to achieve their full potential.

If you want to know more about how to motivate your students with dyslexia and how to create an inclusive classroom that fosters self-esteem of all your students, take a look at my Dyslexia Awareness Training.

During the training, you will understand what dyslexia is, what it feels like to be dyslexic, how the dyslexic brain works, how to recognize dyslexia in your students, and, most importantly, how to create inclusive language classes where your students with dyslexia will be taken to their highest potential.

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