Thoughts on Peter Riffle’s keynote address at the New Jersey LDA meeting

In this post I gave my general impressions of the recent meeting of the New Jersey LDA. Now, I’d like to write a little about Peter Riffle, especially his keynote address. Peter Riffle is a teacher of learning disabled kids. He also is learning disabled himself (he has dyslexia). And he’s a great speaker.I haven’t seen Peter Riffle teach. But lots of people have and he’s gotten lots of recognition, including a Disney American Teacher award and a WalMart teacher of the year award. You can read more about Peter Riffle here.  Mr. Riffle spoke extemporaneously, with minimal notes (which he barely referred t0). He told stories about himself  and what it was like to grow up with dyslexia back in the 1950s and 1960s; he also spoke about many of the children he has taught over the years.

There are different styles of talk at conferences such as this. In some, the main point is to impart information or teach about particular techniques. In others, it is to inspire and motivate.  Pete Riffle’s keynote was definitely in the latter group and it was an exemplar of that type of talk. In a way, I was not the intended audience: I was there primarily because (like Peter Riffle) I am learning disabled. Most of the audience was teachers and parents of LD people and I could tell they were really moved.

All in all, this keynote address was a great start to the day.

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