Bill Spooner's Coaching Academy
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Bill Spooner and I am a teacher/educator/mentor.
What is your background?
I grew up and went to school in Cairns. I studied fine art at the then, Brisbane College of Art followed by a postgraduate diploma in teaching at Kelvin Grove Teachers College. I taught secondary art at Atherton and Woree State High Schools for a total of 17 years.
From the classroom I then became an education adviser and curriculum coordinator. In 1999 I resigned from Education Queensland to start up, with my wife, Noeline our private tuition business (Bill Spooner’s Coaching Academy) as I felt that I could offer more to students and parents without the confines of a bureaucracy. We assist parents with the education of their children, employing high-quality dedicated and professional teachers.
Since COVID-19 we moved to offer our services online. This is proving to be successful. The students enjoy it and it is one less trip in the car for the parents. We are slowly starting to grow again. We’re also working on offering face-to-face tuition at theSPACE again.
I specialize in helping children who have what I call “the hidden learning difficulties”, namely dyslexia and Visual Processing Disorder.
Dyslexia is quite simply a different way of thinking and more than just a reading difficulty. In fact, some dyslexics are competent readers. We dyslexics (I am one), quite simply, just think differently. We are not linear, sequential step-by-step learners, we are a big picture, right-brain dominant, top-down thinkers. Dyslexic children suffer immensely in the education system as it is linear and sequential in its’ delivery. This is not how they learn. Many children who are dyslexic demonstrate great long-term memory skills (places, faces, experiences, etc) but poor sequence memory (facts and information that is not directly experienced). Internal dialogue is not pronounced, so sounds and words have less of an effect than images and feelings. Dyslexics are often of above-average intelligence, and many are gifted, particularly in the visual and performing arts, sport and business. They make good entrepreneurs because they see opportunities that others don’t. Many of the shakers and movers in history have been dyslexic. Einstein, Richard Branston, JFK and Churchill are just some examples.
Unfortunately at a systemic level, the education system does not cater for these students and the impact on self-esteem and self-image can be devastating.
Visual Processing Disorder or Irlen Syndrome is not an optical problem. It is a problem with how the nervous system encodes and decodes visual information. Academic and work performance, behaviour, attention, ability to sit still and concentration can be affected. Irlen Syndrome can coexist with learning difficulties, and some individuals may have been mislabelled as having dyslexia, reading difficulties, ADD/HD, or specific learning disabilities.
I have had the greatest pleasure and satisfaction in turning many non-reading children into readers instantly through the use of Irlen spectral filters.
You may have wondered why Bono, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Cher and many other high-profile celebrities wear coloured glasses.
I also have Irlen Syndrome as well as dyslexia and school for me, was a nightmare. Unfortunately, again the Education system does not recognize Visual Processing disorder. Despite this many children that I see who is receiving learning support and struggling at school is either dyslexic and/or has Irlen Syndrome.
Reason for being at theSPACE/ what do you like about being at theSPACE?
I love the fact that the concept is forward-looking innovative and agile. It is fresh and smart. There is the added benefit of working alongside innovative and interesting people. It is the way of the future.
Why should people know you?
I have 45 years of varied experiences in education. I love helping young people to obtain their potential and to be happy and to take the weight off the shoulders of parents.
When I was 18 I accidentally tracked dog poo from the front door to the rear of my girlfriend’s house and back again on our first date. How’s that for a first impression?