Education guru Sir Ken Robinson made the point again this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: when we learn best we use our brain and our body together – people are not just brains on an unfeeling stick.
Why might this angle be exactly what your dyslexic staff need your HR department to know, and how does HR deploy staff training that’s good for the body as well as the career?
When people learn something of significance they experience physical feelings and emotions more intensely than the mental sensation of committing information to the brain. Just recall that hard puzzle you solved which had been bugging you for ages – didn’t you feel good about it? And when you finally got the hang of that technique you’d been trying to master for years – didn’t you feel proud of yourself? Successful learning is an extreme physical experience more than a menial mental task.
When it comes to training at work, making the physical experiences of learning both positive and motivational can reap corporate rewards. Your dyslexic employees don’t welcome pages of handouts to read in a training session, with no other backup format available. They’d rather exchange eye contact, words and physical gestures with trainers as the standard means of communication in the here and now of the training session, and leave the handouts to be digested in their own time and way later on. They’re looking for movement – that dynamic and multi-sensory physical energy which can be used as the fuel for communicating their ideas, talents and potential to the company.
When dyslexics are communicated with in the ways that work to their strengths, the path is cleared for improving skills, working relationships and the inclusion ethos in the leading corporations of today.
Here are three simple multi-sensory substitutes for your training handouts, which dyslexics are more likely to engage with in company training sessions:
1. Have you got a product or sample they can examine?
They want to touch, feel, see and hear what you’re talking about.
2. Is there a technique that can be demonstrated?
They will get more from acting out or observing what has to happen than being told about it with written words on a page.
3. Are there photographs or pictures they can examine which express the words on your handout?
Dyslexics are highly visual creative thinkers who respond strongly to imagery in communication.
Deploying any of these suggestions will help your dyslexic staff to engage better with training. This can only be good for HR as a body, as well as for each individual dyslexic’s career.