A Profile of One of the Dyscalculia Network teachers:   
 
Robert Jennings

 

        I work with and help children who have considerable difficulties with their maths. As a result of these struggles, these children are often completely lacking in confidence and suffer from all sorts of maths anxiety.

     I am a relative newcomer to teaching children and adults with special educational needs, having been working in this field for just over ten years. Despite the fact that it is exhausting … I love it!

     I started when my 18 year-old dyslexic son was at primary school. He was struggling with his education and his confidence was being affected badly. I decided to help him and quickly realised that helping kids grasp concepts and develop was incredibly rewarding. My son attended Emerson House learning centre and I offered to help out. I have never looked back. Jane Emerson has been a constant source of help and support through these many years of my re-education and training. I love teaching and the impact we make to young people’s lives continues today.

     Here’s a success story from the recent past:

     Evie was an 8 year-old year girl who was completely lacking in any confidence in maths and her opening line when she met someone was to say how stupid she was. Her anxiety became so severe that she would often develop a sickness overnight,   avoiding maths at school on the following day. On the days that she made it into school, she would hide at the back of the class not daring to look up from her desk, in case she was asked a question.

    She had help from school and her parents employed a tutor to help out, but they tended to teach the topics which she was doing at school, so tended to make matters worse.

    Our teaching team at Emerson House, decided on a strategy to focus her learning at a much more basic foundation level, so that we could consolidate her basic understanding and give her strategies, which she could remember. We always employed a lot of manipulatives to demonstrate how numbers and facts interact, so that Evie would develop over time and much greater understanding of the basics.

     We found great success by providing Evie with a visual hook, working with dot patterns to allow her to see how numbers are made up which she can use in her calculations.

     Above all else, we try to make maths fun, playing lots of games to consolidate our learning and also to make It real by using things which are all around us.

     Maths is never going to be Evie’s favourite subject but she now has a very sound knowledge of how to calculate, she understands place value and best of all she is confident to try new things and to ask questions when she does not understand it.

     I love the card she sent me on the day she left us.