Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning and Teaching

         If a child does not learn the way you teach,
             teach the way your child learns.

   Oh, how I wish people could grasp this! Individuals, each one of us. We can accept the obvious differences within our children; the way they look, their preferences, their friends. Why do we often fail to accept (or even recognize) the learning differences in our children. I have to tell you, once I grasped this concept..life got a whole lot easier.

  I have three very different children who are rather close in age. Not one of them is the same; not in personality, not in preferences, not in appearance. They are also very different in the way they learn. For example, one is very visual. She needs to see it; to grasp the concept in her creative mind. Kids may be visual, or logical, or tactile...this has a deep effect on their learning. If you spend your time teaching in a lecture style to a visual or tactile learner- you have lost them, for the most part. Can they learn that way? Yes, but not as well.

  Now, I taught in a school before I home schooled. In my classroom I tried to adjust my teaching style to blend the learning styles found in most people. During lecture sessions, I added in visual stimulation and tactile activities. We discussed the logical base (why are we doing this?). Coming home to teach was no different..except that I could directly determine the style of the child I was teaching and address it.

  Some say, "Lecture is found in all college classrooms, therefore you must use it." Okay. As my kids aged up...I have altered my methods to lean more toward lecture-style, thinning out extras. The kids have discovered how to study..to research..to set up for themselves the "extras" they need to succeed. It works. One of our kids has been taking courses through the local community college for several semesters now. She is excelling quite well.

  How do we discover their learning style? I wrote a thesis paper on this in my college years. The resource that has stuck with me all this time is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. Her book is exceptional. Easy to understand, clear in its information. I encourage every parent to read it.

  What if you don't home school? Well, I didn't use to. It still helps...with homework, with life skills, with daily routine...with life. If you know your child is visual...charts are great for chores and accountability. If tactile...a checklist helps...etc. Anything that aides in the understanding and training of our children is a valuable investment.

  Now consider...does my child learn the way I teach (classes, homework help, or life skills)? Do I adjust the way I teach to help them learn?

  Have a blessed day!


You can purchase The Way They Learn from: http://www.christianbook.com/the-way-they-learn/cynthia-tobias

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