Dyslexia Superpower: Time for ‘Visual Thinking’ GCSE, NVQ, A-Level, BSc, MSc, PhD! (37/52)

Whether you call it big picture thinking, spatial thinking or visual thinking, there is something rather special about the way the dyslexic mind processes complex information – let’s just call it the dyslexia superpower!

Of course, our education system recognises and rewards other types of vital thinking. Such as, the fine detail thinking so evident in subjects that are linear and structured and can be assessed by clear rubrics and produce well distributed marks with clear grade boundaries. In fact, these also lend themselves to examinations rather than coursework. The recent changes to GCSE and A levels have reinforced the rewards for fine detail thinking assessed by examinations.

However, there have been failed attempts to develop subjects which broadly test thinking:

  • Critical Thinking (AQA – no longer offered from 2017)
  • Critical Thinking (OCR – no longer offered with statement “OCR is currently reforming its GCSEs, AS and A Levels in line with the government programme of reform. However, it was not possible to develop content for Critical Thinking that met Ofqual’s principles for reformed AS and A Levels” )
  • Thinking Skills (CAIE – a lone survivor?)

But, what of visual thinking?

With the culling of so many subjects from the list of approved GCSE and A levels, what hope this there for developing a new subject, which rewards visual thinking skills? Given this current climate, what hope is there to assess visual thinking skills by a wide range of methods: animation, video, presentation, digital media, portfolio or just plain old coursework?

We could just ask the RSA to develop a GSCE based on RSA Animate!

I (and 1,806,538 other people) really liked the Divided Brain (2011):

Or the The Power of Networks (2012):

I don’t have the answer to this problem but I do recognise it is a problem. The first step along the way.

I think it’s time to mobilise an army [or peace corps] of people to address this fundamental flaw in our education system. Or even better a flock of dyslexia activists!

Nigel LockettThe Dyslexic Professor
University dyslexia support