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Dyslexic students sometimes benefit from informal analogies to things in the world which the student can see with their eyes, and/or touch with their hands.

Tentatively, we can conjecture that mathematics which makes mathematics easier for dyslexics could also make math easier to understand for non-dyslexic persons as well.


I had trouble with writing 1 < 7 and 1 > 7.

When I was less than 10 years old, a teacher told me that the less-than-sign > always faces the larger of two numbers because the less-than-sign resembles the mouth of a hungry alligator >. The idea is that a hungry alligators, when presented with two meals, would have incentive eat a the larger of two meals.

picture of the head of a cartoon alligator facing the larger of two numbers


The following has not yet been verified, but we can hypothesize that for any live in-person lesson and/or educational video v1 and v2 and for any students d and nd if student d is more dyslexic than student nd, and dyslexic person d prefers lesson/video gv more than bv then non-dyslexic person nd might benefit from video gv more than *bv.

It might be similar to how the fact that some wheel-chair bound people prefer using elevators to stairs implies that some non-wheel chair bound persons prefer using elevators to stairs.

Likewise, potato peelers designed for a shaking persons hands might be easier for persons whose hands, also, do not shake.

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    $\begingroup$ While common, I feel that this example is a bad mnemonic. It obscures the fact that the greater/lesser signs are arrows pointing on the real number line in the direction of the first operand relative to the second. Better to make those connections explicit than hide them. (And the mnemonic gets less coherent and, I think, a cause for errors when negative numbers enter the picture.) $\endgroup$ May 25, 2023 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DanielR.Collins I've never heard that or think of > as an arrow. I learned the alligator rationale looong ago. I don't understand the arrow pointing toward the lesser number. Perhaps a generational thing. On axes, I draw arrows in the direction of increasing numbers, the opposite of the inequality sign. The arrow rationale seems backwards and confusing to me. I'm just saying there's some diversity of viewpoints in the world, not that any particular one is right. I would rather it be said that the lesser number goes by the vertex of the angle and the greater by the open side of the angle. $\endgroup$
    – user1815
    May 26, 2023 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ The hypothesis implies that only a dyslexic vs non-dyslexic categorization of people is important in their understanding various concepts. My experience suggests this is not true. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    May 26, 2023 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ To do a decent study, one needs to think carefully about confounding variables. Here is a hypothesis: since some people are left-handed, we have designed scissors to "help" this population. Should we therefore conjecture that the new design is will also assist right-handers when using this special scissor design? (I am a left-handed dyslexic.) $\endgroup$
    – user52817
    May 26, 2023 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ @user52817 The left-handed design analogy applies only partially: the true adjustment should be the one that would allow both left and right hand use, and it is not even about being left-handed: a right-handed person may also need to operate tools with his/her left hand for various reasons. What you are talking about would mean just completely closing one road and opening another in my metaphorical description, which, indeed, won't help much. But that's not what is usually done. $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    May 28, 2023 at 13:59

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