Overcoming Barriers to learning with Sheila Mulvenney
In this episode of The School Success Formula I interview Sheila Mulvenney about overcoming barriers to learning. Barriers to learning come in many different forms, from temporary emotional upsets to long-term special educational needs such as dyslexia. In this episode we cover a broad range of barriers to learning and talk about what parents can do to help their children to overcome them.
After initially training and working as a nurse, then as a Health Visitor and completing a degree with the Open University, Sheila Mulvenney first started to teach mature students on child care and Care Management courses at undergraduate, HNC/D or National Diploma level. She became aware that many mature students still had obstacles to overcome from their background or previous learning experiences, and a number struggled with literacy.
After completing a PGCE, Sheila went on to work in a number of different settings with younger students, often with those who experienced social, emotional or behavioural difficulties, had other special educational needs or were looked after. Her roles included being a SENCo in a specialist provision and Head Teacher of a small school for students who were all in care and resident within the organisation. These roles led to work in local authorities focussing on behaviour or inclusion and then with children in care as head of a Virtual School.
In addition, Sheila is a qualified Sounds-Write trainer, regularly running phonics courses for teachers in schools. She is also qualified as a teacher of English as a foreign language having taught English to, and hosted, a large number of students from other countries. Her interest in meeting the emotional needs of children in care led her to train as a therapist in Emotional Freedom Technique, and she now runs her own company offering training, tuition, therapy and consultancy to individuals, schools and other organisations and undertakes various interim appointments within local authorities. She is the author of the book Overcoming Barriers to Learning.
What we covered in this episode
Sheila explains to us what is meant by ‘barriers to learning’? She talks about both general barriers to learning (like physical and emotional discomfort) and specific barriers to learning (such as specific learning difficulties).
How Sheila became interested in barriers to learning.
What sets people back in their learning in terms of their mindset and self-belief.
The importance of good literacy skills in being able to access learning in any subject.
The importance of the relationship between parents and teachers in overcoming barriers to learning.
How important it is to have good communication between parents and children.
What parents can do when they see things happening in the home that may well become barriers to learning to reduce their impact on their children’s education.
How parents can give children the vocabulary to talk about the things that may be getting in the way of their learning.
How parents can help their children to increase their empathy and compassion for other young people who are experiencing the emotional upheaval that may disrupt their own learning.
Sheila explains a little bit about emotional freedom technique (EFT) and how it can help with barriers to learning.
Growth Mindset: The Power of Not Yet – Post on growth mindset
Free chapter of my book: The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take
Fear of failure – Post about how to overcome the fear of failing exams
Where to find Sheila online
Sheila’s website Attuned Education
Sheila’s book: Overcoming Barriers to Learning
Sheila on Facebook
Sheila on Twitter @sheilattuned
Other useful links
Lucy on twitter: @LucyCParsons
Contact Lucy by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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