The Effect of Not Doing or Why Not Teach OG Math?

Our actions shape our lives, but when we don’t take action it can be just as powerful.

I know! I was reluctant in the beginning of my OG Math journey. In fact I was completely resistant. 

I knew that I was secure in my ability to teach students to read and write fairly confidently with the Orton- Gillingham or OG Approach. But Math! That was for someone else – like maybe a specialized math teacher.

 So I confidently turned down opportunities to assist the students who approached me for help with math. My thinking was that someone else was more qualified to help. Gradually, bit by bit my eyes were opened and my thinking started to change. 

Whether you realize it or not, every one of the thoughts you think, the words you speak, and the actions you take contributes to the complex quality of your interactions with your students who count on you for learning support. It simply is not possible to be alive without making an impact on people around us. It is particularly so with our students. If they trust you enough to ask for math help, how can you turn them down? 

Every action taken affects your students as greatly as every action not taken. And when it comes to teaching students who struggle with the basics of math, what you choose not to do can be just as important as what you choose to do. 

Another way of putting this is if you don’t think you can do it, how will your students believe they can do it? For example, when you sometimes neglect to speak up, vote, or help somebody in immediate need, you are denying yourself the opportunity to be an agent for positive change. Instead, you among others are enabling a particular course to continue unchallenged, picking up speed even as it goes along. By holding the belief that your actions don’t make much of a difference, you may find that you often tend to forego opportunities for involvement. On the other hand, if you see yourself as an important participant in the ever-evolving world of your students’ needs, you may feel more inspired to contribute your unique perspective and gifts to carefully structured multisensory math lessons. It is wise to be selective about how and where you are using your energy in order to keep yourself from becoming scattered in your Orton Gillingham lessons. Your OG lessons follow a carefully developed plan. Not every action is appropriate for every person. When a student’s situation catches your attention, however, and speaks to your heart, it is important that you consider how to honor your impulse to help and take the action that feels right for you. 

That happened to me when I attended a conference many years ago and heard Dr. Stanley Antonoff speak about how many students with dyslexia were hampered in graduate and professional education by their weak math skills. But what really hit home for me was Dr. Antonoff’s declaration that math is a language.

And very importantly, he stated that people like me who teach students with dyslexia and language based learning challenges, need to acknowledge and address this need. 

No matter how proficient a student is in reading and writing, it is not enough if they are failing mathematics. 

Orton Gillingham  works wonders for reading and writing skills and often many people don’t think of it for math. But OG Math has the same multisensory, interactive, structured approach as OG language. It may be the answer to your student’s math success. And maybe you’ll feel better knowing you are doing what you can, when it’s needed. Sometimes, it may be your one contribution that makes all the difference. If it seems like something you would like to explore you can contact me here at this

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