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Davis Math Mastery Programme

Sabre does a Davis Math Mastery programme and learns to ride a bicycle

The Problem
A problem with 
focus (attention) is the key common factor in all the following learning difficulties:

  • Dyslexia (reading and spelling problems)
  • Dysgraphia (handwriting problems)
  • Dyscalculia (maths problems)
  • Dyspraxia (balance and co-ordination problems)
  • ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)AD/HD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Asperger’s syndrome (high functioning autism)

By addressing the issue of focusing, you can eliminate any of the above problems for people of all ages. Early intervention allows you to prevent them altogether.

We all know that mathematical ability is layered - one skill is built on top of another. The ability to multiply is based on the ability to add; and adding rests on the ability to count. What many do not realise, is that underlying all mathematics ability is a clear understanding of ten basic concepts. These include consequence (when a change is caused), sequence (how things follow each other) and order (when things are in their proper place, position and condition).

Various Learning Styles
Your learning style is defined by your thinking style; either verbal or non-verbal. We all start life as non-verbal thinkers. Those who remain non-verbal tend to struggle in our current education system, which is largely designed for verbal thinkers. What is really important to know is that this non-verbal thinking also gives them the high-speed processing ability which makes babies and toddlers the fastest learners of all. This is the key reason for the various talents and gifts that often accompany learning difficulties.

When teaching caters properly for both learning styles, difficulties in learning can be greatly reduced or even eliminated altogether.

The Davis Math Mastery Solution
There are essentially two steps needed to address all dyslexia-related difficulties, including dyscalculia:

  1. Learn how to focus, and notice when focus is lost;
  2. Identify and eliminate "triggers" which break focus.

We teach a unique focusing technique and then begin to eliminate what breaks the picture thinker’s focus. We scan through all the knowledge needed for mastering maths, looking for gaps in the student’s understanding.

When gaps are found (confusion) we simply fill in the gaps, using plasticine for effective multi-sensory, heuristic learning (learning through discovery, incorporating all the five senses).

We always begin by addressing literacy, which can take up to 30 hours one-to-one, but if there are no issues to address in the literacy skills, it can take much less time than that. The maths issues are then cleared up through further 20-30 hours of one-to-one professional intervention, followed by about 20 hours of work at home or in school.

Follow-up at home
Included in the five day programme is the training of a support person of your choice, a three hour review session a couple of months after the initial programme, up to six hours of phone support, and all materials needed for you to follow up the correction at home.
Over the months following the programme, you use the clay at home to master the 219 trigger-words (if literacy is an issue), and when this is completed, the dyslexia is fully corrected. For maths you will need to master the symbols and words used in mathematics. Mastery is achieved when we have full clarity about the meaning of a symbol, and have established a permanent link between the three parts of the symbol - the meaning, the shape and the sound. Once this has been achieved, the non-verbal thinker can use the symbol effortlessly and consistently for both thinking and communicating, whether the communication happens through sound (talking) or shape (writing).

The problem with traditional teaching is due to over-emphasising the verbal parts of symbols (shape and sound), and not making a strong enough link to the non-verbal part of the symbol (the meaning). In maths, this can be achieved through using "manipulatives" - concrete objects illustrating mathematical amounts and functions.

Cost and commitment of the follow-up work:
 The follow-up work only requires your time - and your chosen support person’s. 
Duration: Approximately 50 hours, normally spread over several months.

Mastery versus learning
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.   
Mastery goes beyond learning. What we traditionally call learning often happens without truly understanding what you have learnt. When a non-verbal thinker learns this way the learning normally doesn’t stick well in their memory. Mastery on the other hand, is for example what you do when you learn to ride a bicycle. When you have mastered the skill of bicycle riding, it will stay with you for the rest of your life. As literacy and numeracy are skills we need to aquire for life, this is obviously an important difference. For effortless literacy, we clearly need to master the letters of the Alphabet as well as the spelling of the most common words in the language, and for effortless numeracy we need to master the numerals.(number symbols) and all the function symbols used in maths.
About 75% of all we read - whatever we are reading - is made up of what Ron Davis calls trigger-words. These are the most common words in the language and we call them trigger-words because they tend to break the focus of a dyslexic person. The reason why they break a dyslexic's focus, is that the dyslexic uses the meaning part of the word in their thinking process - and the meaning of the trigger-words does not translate easily into an image. Mastery of the trigger-words consists essentially of discovering their exact meaning and translating that meaning into an image. We then use plasticine for making the image of the meaning, and the shape (spelling) of the word clear and specific, and then anchor it into our long-term memory using our unique focusing tool. Several of these trigger words are used in maths, representing various functions and that can add considerably to the confusion of maths. An example would be the word "by", which can mean two directly opposite things, depending on whether you for example "multiply by" or "divide by".
Training of your support person
By the end of the 30 hour programme, the client has normally already experienced a significant change in self-esteem and the areas that he/she decided to focus on, whether it is reading, spelling or maths.

A support person will have received a three hour training session in how to support the client in using the Davis-tools. This now needs to be put to use by doing specific follow-up work which normally takes about 50 hours for literacy and further 20 hours for maths. If the client decides to commit 1 hour weekly to this work it could be finished within a year.

The follow-up work is imperative to the success of the programme, as the learning difficulty has not been permanently conquered until this work is done. If this work is not done there is a risk of the benefits experienced within the 30 hour one-to-one work fading away within a year or two.

When a client is a student, we encourage as much involvement from school as possible - even though the success of the programme does not rely on this.

Early Intervention
Davis Young Learner’s Programme: A parent of a four to eight year old child can learn our methods and use them at home, in order to prevent learning difficulties.

Davis Learning Strategies: A teacher of children aged four to eight can learn to use our methods teaching a whole class. This prevents confusion from the outset, maximising the learning potential of all children.

Symptoms of dyscalculia:
Learning difficulties manifest in a range of symptoms and each person will have their own unique combination. Paradoxically, weakness in one area can be accompanied by strengths in other areas. If you see six or more of the following symptoms, the most likely reason is dyscalculia or a related learning difficulty:

  • Student gets headache, stomach-ache, or feels dizzy doing maths;
  • Student gets confused by numbers, maths symbols, sequences, verbal explanations, or letters;
  • Student makes surprisingly simple mistakes in maths;
  • Student seems bright, highly intelligent and articulate but is still unable to do maths at appropriate level;
  • Student is labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "having behavioural problem";
  • Student is not "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be identified or helped in the school setting;
  • Student is high in IQ, yet may not test well academically; may do well in oral tests, but not as well in written tests;
  • Student feels stupid and has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensation strategies;
  • Student is easily frustrated and emotional about school and testing;
  • Student is talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering;
  • Student seem to "zone out" or daydream often, gets lost easily or loses track of time;
  • Student struggles sustaining attention; is "hyper" or "day-dreams";
  • Student learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
  • Student has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time;
  • Student computes math with finger counting and other tricks;
  • Student knows answers, but can’t do it on paper;
  • Student can do arithmetic, but fails word problems, cannot grasp algebra or higher maths.

The MathGrid

Math-U-See is a great website with fantastic products to improve maths. Very compatible with the Davis approach, it is probably the best thing out there (apart from Davis of course;)).

Hands-On Equations is a very multi-sensory based approach to working out and understanding algebra. We think this can be supplementary to Math-U-See, even though you probably do not need it after having gone throught M-U-S.
Subpages (1): The MathGrid
Axel Gudmundsson,
14 Jun 2013, 02:03
Axel Gudmundsson,
14 Jun 2013, 02:02