19 Instructions for my teacher

It seems some teachers are easy to learn from and others are not. The South Cumbria Dyslexia Association and the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) surveyed dyslexic pupils about how teachers made learning easy or difficult.

Some of the dyslexic pupil’s comments are listed below.

  1. At the start of the lesson be clear about what you want us to do.
  2. Don’t give too many instructions too fast.
  3. Show us how to do something as well as tell us. Use pictures and structural material – these make it easier to understand.
  4. Be prepared to repeat the instructions.
  5. Teach the basic information – ‘without rambling on about other things’.
  6. Show enthusiasm for the subject.
  7. Let us ask questions – check that we are doing it right.
  8. Proactively check if we are doing it right.
  9. Smile when we ask for help – explain it again and do at least two examples with us.
  10. Write things neatly and clearly – preferably on a whiteboard.
  11. Leave instructions/spellings etc. on the board for a long time.
  12. Help when we get stuck.
  13. Be patient with our mistakes and when we need help.
  14. Be nice to us – please do not shout when we get it wrong.
  15. Number lines at both ends – different coloured lines can also be helpful.
  16. Prepare notes to minimise copying from the whiteboard.
  17. Put homework instructions in an audio file or on a website.
  18. Accept and encourage work to be presented in different forms – audio, web cam, oral responses etc. “You choose the best way to show me what you know for this task”.
  19. Create a peaceful environment in the class.


“And finally, an instruction for teachers that is just plain common sense when it comes to students who learn differently. Students who struggle to learn in a formal classroom environment invariably know why and what they need. Just ask, ‘What’s the best way to present this new information to you so you can take it in quickly and efficiently?’ Never assume because every child is different.”
Liz Dunoon

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