The world of Orton-Gillingham teacher training programs can be a bit confusing for those who are new on the scene. Although there are numerous training programs that are based on Orton Gillingham, what is sometimes referred to as “straight Orton Gillingham” is not a program, but a group of principles underlying the practice of teaching dyslexic students. In addition to Orton-Gillingham based programs, there are also multiple organizations that provide training in “straight OG”. While they may vary in several ways, the foundational principles should remain the same.
Looking At Your Goals
When choosing the best Orton-Gillingham teacher training for yourself, it is best to first answer the question “Why?” Your goals in being trained in Orton Gillingham can guide you to the best training to meet those goals. Classroom teachers and special education teachers can all benefits becoming Orton-Gillingham tutors to help their struggling readers.
- Do you want to improve your practice as a classroom teacher?
- Are you a special education teacher, or reading specialist looking to more effectively reach students with learning differences?
- Are you interested in pursuing your own private practice?
What Is An Orton Gillingham Teacher Training Practicum?
One of the decisions you will likely need to make is whether to pursue Orton-Gillingham courses that include practicum experiences. A supervised practicum is similar in many ways to student teaching. You have one or two students who you plan to teach 1:1 using Orton Gillingham principles. Typically, this process involves working with a student a few times a week for up to a year and working closely with a mentor who reviews lesson plans, provides constructive feedback, and performs frequent observations. Depending on the level of training, the number of practicum hours varies, but a 100-hour course is a typical number. Committing to a 100-hour practicum of anything can feel a little daunting, so what are some of the benefits of completing a comprehensive Orton-Gillingham training with a supervised practicum.
What Are The Benefits of Choosing An Orton Gillingham Teacher Training Practicum?
1. Having a seasoned supervisor to guide you, ask questions, get advice.
When something requires extensive practice and skill to get good at, one of the best ways to learn is to have a master practitioner guide you. Whether it is a Jedi Master guiding their Padawan, or a Master Mason guiding a young apprentice, this practice occurs in many fields because of how effective it is. Learning something new is challenging. No two students are the same. Having someone with more experience, such as a practicum supervisor, who can help support, encourage, and advise you can help you reach your full potential as an OG practitioner.
2. Having the chance to put theory into practice.
Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses of training for preservice teachers is the complete separation of theory and practice. While you may study a variety of theories and methodologies regarding teaching complex concepts, it is not unusual to only be able to put a handful of those into practice with guidance. In an OG training practicum, the practical application is directly related to the theoretical learning. You can put the principles of the Orton-Gillingham approach into practice straight away. By following the same student over a significant period, there is the opportunity to apply the vast majority of one’s learning. This practice mirrors our commitment to science-based learning.
3. Receiving corrective feedback to guide you.
As OG practitioners, our goal is to help develop fluent and competent readers. We must constantly challenge ourselves to be the most efficient and effective teachers possible. Our students have no time to waste and are in danger of falling even further behind. Receiving corrective feedback helps us quickly refine our practice in ways that benefit our students immensely.
4. Feeling more prepared.
When an OG tutor is ready to work unsupervised, they have the experience of teaching a particular concept with guidance, support and corrective feedback. The teacher feels more capable and prepared about what to do (and what not to do) to make teaching efficient and effective. As I have students reaching new milestones, I still feel a little trepidation when I teach a concept for the very first time. Am I providing enough scaffolding? Is the provided explanation going to be enough for the student to understand? While adjustments must always be made and the amount of support increased or decreased in response to how a student responds to teaching, more practicum experience equates to more confidence and comfort with teaching new things.
5. Networking and Making Connections
One of the nice benefits of completing an OG practicum is the connections you make along the way. Especially if you are in private practice, staying in touch with your supervisor and colleagues can lead to client referrals and gives you a sounding board for tricky teaching situations. All students are different and the eventually, you will find yourself faced with a situation where you want to talk and problem solve with another OG person. The completion of a supervised practicum will open the door to many OG professionals with whom you can connect with.
6. Increasing your credentials as a professional.
We all want to do the very best we can for our students and clients. It can be difficult for parents to navigate the waters when looking for a qualified OG tutor. Being able to add a practicum to your list of professional development qualifications makes you stand out as having the expertise parents are looking for.
7. Becoming more grounded in Orton-Gillingham principles.
Perhaps the most powerful reason for completing a practicum is to deepen your understanding of the principles of Orton Gillingham instruction. Orton Gillingham is not a program, and it is only in taking a very deep dive into personalization and contingent teaching that you truly fully reach that realization.
Which Orton Gillingham teacher training is right for you?
There are many training paths, and not everyone will choose to take a route that includes a practicum in their particular season of life. However, these considerations, may help you to better understand the benefits of an Orton-Gillingham teacher training practicum and whether one is right for you. A few of the training organizations that include a practicum are: OGA, ALTA, IMSLEC, DTI. You may reach out to any of these organizations to find out their requirements and ask questions about their Orton-Gillingham training courses.
Find out why so many teachers are thankful for Orton-Gillingham: Reasons To Be Thankful for Orton-Gillingham Methods.
Have you listened and subscribed to the Together In Literacy Podcast? Casey and I discuss the benefits of a practicum at the end of episode 10 on The Gradual Release of Responsibility.
Thank you so much for stopping by today!