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Becks Turner talks about why she's empowering dyslexics at her upcoming show Melonade

Thursday 27 February 2020

Guest post from Becks Turner, who’s show Melonade with be at VAULT Festival in London on 18 and 19 March.

With exams getting harder every year, coursework being removed and students being forced to produce A*s like chickens laying eggs, some kids are left feeling like failures before they’ve even begun. But not all hope is lost, I am here to remind you that when life gives you lemons, you can make Melonade!

If one in ten people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, and at least 80 percent of students are going undiagnosed in schools, how many kids are being cheated out of a proper education? Melonade is a juicy gameshow that puts our education system to the test and asks why neurodiversity is so often branded as a weakness, when it could be our biggest strength! I am dyslexic, dyspraxic and have dyscalculia, which meant I struggled throughout my time in education, and this really impacted my self-esteem. My difficulty with reading and writing affected my performance in an exam. I never received the mark I thought I deserved. I started to believe I was not intelligent.

I think this is one reason I was drawn towards the more creative and art-based subjects – the exam was marked by your ability to express yourself without using a pen and paper. I excelled in drama, media studies and art. I was finally getting an A* and being praised for my work. I was passionate about the subjects because for once, I felt smart. My confidence improved and so did my marks. These subjects taught me how to improve my writing and reading. I was reading plays, writing about art works and interested in learning theories from other subjects to back up my points and ideas. If it was not for drama class, I would never have gone on to take A Level English.

But there became a point when I was told I could not focus on those subjects. Instead my attention had to be on the core subjects, if I wanted to get a job and succeed in life. I had to choose between art and drama. I was told taking media studies was seen as an easy option and would not get me a place at university. I felt small and stupid again.

Melonade was born out of a need to start a conversation about neurodiversity. To ask the question, why do we test intelligence in a restricted time frame and why is this always a written exam? To raise awareness about how crucial it is to understand that neurodiverse students learn in many ways and that every student should have the option to pursue all subjects, even the ‘soft’ ones.

Melonade is a rigged and raucous game show that exposes the academic bias of our education system, debunking myths about “soft subjects”, empowering the dyslexic community and highlighting a need for a serious change in the way in which we educate and assess students.