How do you feel about your education? Do you feel met by every teacher you have? Do you find some teachers “have it” and others don’t? Have you ever stopped and wondered what are the differences between effective and dysfunctional teaching?
Most importantly have you ever considered "How do you learn?"
After 15 years of High School Math teaching I thought I could recognize learning abilities in my students readily. Over the last 3 years I have discovered that the way I was judging and perceiving intelligence was incomplete and that I was not seeing major chunks of observable and measurable brilliance in my students.
The more I read and observed my students the more I discovered (and continue to discover) how much more there is to learn about learning. Not only that buteverybody learns differently!
So what do I mean when I talk about learning about learning?
Take a moment and answer this question: “How do I learn best?” This question alone may unlock many blockages for you as to why you find some teachers easy to follow and others confusing or boring. What can you do about this as a student? How can you help transform your teachers (if they are willing) into a better teacher for you? How can you expand your learning "styles" to be able to learn more from every teacher and every class?
Firstly find out how you learn best. You have eyes, ears, mouth and a body. These are your major learning organs which determine which style of learning you prefer –
· Having music playing in the background while you work or study?
· Connecting what you learn to the natural world?
· Moving your body while learning?
· Taking short breaks during class?
· Having fun or laughing in a lesson?
· Having work presented to you in color, symbols or drawings?
· Working alone, in pairs or in small groups during activities?
· Rephrasing or restating something that is taught to you in your own words?
· Needing the work to have meaning and significance to you?
Once you have asked yourself these questions (and more) start to notice which teachers include these qualities in their lessons and how you respond in thiose moments.
Next become more familiar with learning styles and how they work by approaching a professional or reading books and articles. I recommend you read “Quantum Learning: Unleashing the Genius in You” or my blogs (see below) I have written on my work in the classroom. You can also hire a Teen Coach to help you understand how you learn, what your needs are and how to have these needs met in your life.
Lastly determine a request you feel you want to make of your teacher to help them modify their teaching approach and include your needs into the way they present a lesson. Find a respectful way to approach them and simply make your request in a non-demanding way. I suggest you practice this with a good friend, your coach, a parent or someone you trust first. Good luck!
"Lawrence Carroll's workshop on personal stress management, which he conducted with my Columbia Grad School class
was a huge success."
Neal Pilson, Columbia University, Former President, CBS Sports