September 03, 2018

My Journey as a dyslexic trainee – Alex

I have just completed my PGCE, which I passed with a distinction, and I was also selected as one of the top ten trainees to have their work published. Please forgive me for celebrating this success, but this time last year I did not feel I would hit these highs, because I am dyslexic. I always thought that my dyslexia would hold me back as I have never over achieved, having had bad experiences in the past. However, this year has shown that I can overcome my dyslexia and be successful by getting the right strategy and putting in the effort. I wanted to reflect on and share some of these strategies with you.

The first strategy that I took was changing my mindset from being fixed to a growth mindset. Prior to starting the year, I always thought you were either intelligent or not, which is probably linked to my anxieties regarding dyslexia. However, since reading about mindsets, I have learnt that it’s about the effort you put in that will help you hit high grades - not intelligence. Therefore, I knew that if I was going achieve, I needed to put the effort in and plan my time, especially around weekends and holidays.

My next strategy was accepting help when it was available. The support that the University of Warwick, especially CTE, gave me was incredible. I always used the study rooms that are set aside for students that have a learning difficulty or disability to give me a quiet space in which to work. CTE also arranged for me to talk through my assignment plans, which helped me pin down my ideas. This was controversial in the eyes of other trainee’s; however, they didn’t realise that being dyslexic is not just about spelling, but also about processing. CTE could also have organised to have my work proof read, which was comforting to know, however I didn’t use this as I had family that could help. I only used this option once, but you can extend assignment deadlines if needed. Although, I say this with a health warning because if I had used it all the time, the work would be never ending and would have consumed me. However, if you plan your time well, this should not be the case.

My final strategy was how I managed the reading for assignments. For me this was the most difficult area as I am a slow reader. To help with this I made sure that, where possible, I picked topics that I found interesting to keep my attention and that would help my practice, focusing on relevant chapters to make the reading easier. To help decipher journal articles, I would read the introduction and conclusion first and then look for any key points in the body of the article. These are only a few of my top tips, however, I feel that these points helped me aim high and prosper in my PGCE year.

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  1. Catherine Glavina

    It’s wonderful to read of your success Alex and the fact that you’ve been able to eradicate some previous bad experiences and replace them with such a glowing record of achievement. I think you are right about having a ‘Growth Mind Set’ – one’s attitude to learning is everything. The strategies you outline for managing assignments will be especially valuable to share with the 18/19 Dyslexia Buddy Group – thank you!

    04 Sep 2018, 10:20

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