I have just come upon this excellent TedX Talk by Dr Matthew Peterson of the Mind Research Institute.
The pie-chart at the beginning of the video is a very powerful explanation of why he believes that the majority of pupils in schools do not learn by words. He explains that he himself has Dyslexia and did not read until the 5th Grade (Year 6). He then gives us a chance to see the excellent computer assisted learning programs featuring a Penguin, Jiji, that have been developed at the Mind Research Institute to help children (particularly those with difficulties in learning with words) to learn mathematics.
The results in California (where the Institute has its home) and in other parts of the U.S.A. have been impressive. Children are not threatened by the barrier of learning mathematical concepts using the medium of language. There are some really good examples of how the programs work on the Mind Research Institute’s website. There are also a number of really good videos, many of them moving testimonials about children with difficulties becoming confident and proficient in this most important area of the curriculum.
As someone who has an interest in mathematical education as well as a person who has recently become fascinated in learning about how our mind works by the study of neuroscience, it is really good to see how computer-assisted learning using good research can be effective in giving us answers to how we can help pupils to overcome difficulties in learning mathematics. I would very much like to see Jiji arrive on our shores here in Britain and would be interested to see how British pupils might benefit from these programs.