Dyslexia · Diversity · Democracy
Shooting the Moon ::
Alasdair Foster delivered a lecture at Newcastle University last Wednesday, which built out from his personal experience of being dyslexic to argue for a better understanding of difference within our educational system. He does not consider dyslexia to be a disability but a different ability, one which he has been able to harness and without which he believes he could have achieved what he has in life.
“Rationality should be an instrument that serves humanity, not a prison in which it is incarcerated.”
The talk began with a race to the moon, leading to an exploration of divergent thinking, brain plasticity, Ron Davis’ proposal that dyslexia is a gift not a disability and on to explore the richness suggested by Howard Gardiner’s concept of multiple intelligences.
It then considered what is lost by a narrow concept of education and the powers at play that might wish to see such a state of affairs maintained. Drawing on the work of the Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire, the talk developed an argument for the recognition of alternative ways of thinking about intelligence and creativity. It concluded with an exploration of how these ways of thinking might be harnessed and how, in doing so, we might come to recognise that each citizen can (and should) be an empowered and active participant in the creation of our shared cultures.
With thanks to Dr Miranda Lawry for organising this opportunity to speak at Newcastle University.