I recently started a group involving learning style differences and the brain. I am identifying the students that you want to teach. Nice match.

I was active on the research end of things and not instruction, and I would like to hear how it sounds from your perspective.

In another life, I found about 25% of students showed decreased performance when an oral response is required.
I can relate this to both reading disability and spelling.

What else would be related?

If you had full control of the situation, what differential instruction would you prescribe for such children?

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Robert, I wonder if the decreased performance at oral responses relates to the amount of practice, in addition to disabilities. I grew up in Russia, where oral responses and oral exams were very prevalent in schools and colleges. My undergraduate studies happened during the time of mass emigration of fresh technical college students, with sometimes up to 70-80% of a class ending up in foreign graduate schools. I remember many of these students commenting on how hard it was to pass written tests, especially standardized (multiple choice) tests, compared to oral response exams.
I did not want to be too wordy until I see there is a need for those words.

This was Ph.D. dissertation. The class was divided into those who will refer to as Left and Right. Both groups were shown a series of words and were tested for immediate recall and recognition. Right and Left groups were divided in half and each half was given either an imaging instruction to help remember the words or an oral repetitition instruction.

The Lefts did better on the verbal repetition strategy but the imagery instruction was no different from the control.
The Rights did better on the imaging strategy but showed a decrease from the control condition.

That is verbal repetition interferred with learning. I can apply this to spelling. Do they still use oral repetition in spelling and arithmetic? If so Cat, c-a-t Cat is interfering with the child's learning to spell. Perhaps it would be better to let the child image the word with letters or a picture, if speaking does not work.

What instructional strategies would use if you ruled out an oral response

As an aside, I have started a discussion on Learning Styles and the Brain dealing with reading disabiity.
First, I want to say how much i enjoy your insightful input. I agree that verbal repetition is a poor learning strategy for many students. I am a big believer in inquiry based instruction. It engages students' interest, allows them to achieve understanding of the concept by doing it themselves instead of just hearing it from the teacher. It usually involves authentic practice and students forming their own conclusions based on the evidence that they record. (Of course, conclusions are carefully guided and directed by the teacher.)
There are many ways to teach and learn and I want to encourage teachers and students both to explore and find the ones that work best for any individual. Rather than support any one method, I want to point out what methods to avoid. Avoid verbal repetition for some students and encourage it for others. Sometimes all it takes is avoiding what does not work, but finding the approach that is best for any student is ideal.



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