Demystifying Dyslexia

GEMS Founders School – Al Barsha has become the only school in Dubai to successfully train all its teachers in how to spot and support students with dyslexia. Helen Molloy, Assistant Principal – Research, Development and Innovation at GFS, tells us why this training was so valuable to staff and students

GEMS Founders School earns certificate for having 100% of staff trained in Dyslexia Awareness

Lewis Hamilton, Orlando Bloom, Agatha Christie and Richard Branson. All incredibly successful in their own fields, all have Dyslexia.

Dyslexic minds see the world differently. They think creatively, laterally, often solving problems others can’t. But 80% are never spotted at school. So they never truly understand their full potential. GEMS Founders School – Al Barsha has been on a mission to help its staff better understand dyslexia, and create an inclusive learning environment where dyslexic minds can thrive. As a result, 100% of teaching staff including school leaders have now completed the ‘Made by Dyslexia’ Dyslexia Awareness Training.

Helen Molloy, Assistant Principal – Research, Development and Innovation at GFS, tells us more:

Why did the school decide to undertake this training?
At GFS we are always striving to be as inclusive as possible in our practice to ensure the very best outcomes for all our learners. This particular training came about on the back of the latest research and the release of the ‘Value of Dyslexia Report’, which highlights that many dyslexics have important skills to offer the world of the future but that there is still a stigma associated with dyslexia. The report suggests that 97% of teachers do not have the necessary training needed to support dyslexic students, with only 3% of people considering dyslexia as a strength. We wanted to correct that at GFS and make sure that all our teachers are able to identify, celebrate and support our dyslexic learners in school.

When did training start?
This is an asynchronous course (two hours in total), so teachers could choose a time that worked for them from the start of the Spring Term. The training was fully completed by all GSF staff by the end of March 2021.

What is the biggest benefit of having a fully dyslexia awareness-trained team?
Ultimately, we’re hoping that our learners see the biggest benefits in terms of a greater appreciation and awareness across the school of the skills that they can bring to the table, such as the ability to approach problems in different ways, creativity and innovative thinking, complex and critical thinking and so on. Teachers now also have a greater knowledge of the most up-to-date tools and strategies that can be used to support dyslexic learners, some of which are proving very useful in the days of online learning, such as Microsoft Learning Tools and its Immersive Reader.

Can you tell us more about what the training involves?
There are two parts to the training, with each part being broken down into six distinct modules. These modules have engaging and inspiring videos of celebrities with dyslexia, such as Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom, as well as learners and teachers alike, talking about their experiences. Each module offers some key learning with a reflection point at the end. Each part of the training takes approximately an hour and you need to complete both sections in order to access your full Microsoft Educator/Made by Dyslexia certificate.

This sounds great, how can other GEMS schools get access to this training?

To access the free training, simply visit: https://connect-the-spots.madebydyslexia.org/