Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How Do You Like To Learn?

In previous posts I have alluded to Multiple Intelligences and Peer Review. They are relevant to any discussion about "how we like to learn." We have many tools or surveys we can use to canvas our scholars to learn about how they like to learn. They are professional learners after all. In my case as a high school teacher, my scholars have been in school for 12 plus years. They should know better than I how they learn. So my obligation is to learn from them what they believe are the best conditions under which they learn.

Exploring some research on the topic provides us with good ideas and tools. Many of the tools we use at our school provide us with information about our scholars. We are interested in information about differentiated instruction. Once we have assessed the MI learning styles of each scholar we can better inform our instruction. For example, if we discover our scholars find group work difficult and unproductive, we might find some good protocols to use to show them how group work should work. I discovered that those students who did not like group work, had never been provided rules or guidelines to conduct productive group work. I introduced them to a protocol and bang it worked and they loved it. We have used other protocols with great success. This is a simple example of how discovering learning styles prior to starting a cycle or semester will make the learning experiences more fruitful. I learned about them and that informed me about what tools I would need to overcome obstacles and to further existing skills.

I have also discovered that using both a webquest with very exact steps to accomplish the assignment and my own webpages which allow for the scholar to create hir own steps require different strategies on my part. For some scholars the webpage suits their style, while for others the webquest suits their style of learning. Having this prior knowledge of each scholar helps me help each of them through a process so that they become comfortable with it and a weakness becomes a strength. The same holds true when we work alone or in groups. Just because a scholar tells me s/he learns better one way and not another doesn't mean I shouldn't use all methods, because at some point in life after my class that scholar may/will be in a situation not comfortable for learning and will have to learn. With this prior knowledge it allows me to provide gentle, caring methods for each scholar to overcome difficulties in learning and to help them become the best they can be.

The more we learn about our scholars and how they learn the better our classes will be for them. Making learning relevant and personal makes for a better and safer learning environment.

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