Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning Styles

A few weeks ago I joined the Spring Reading Thing from Callapidder Days. I still think my list is a little ambitious, but I have officially completed my first book. It's called Discover Your Child's Learning Style, and I would definitely recommend it. (Click on the book to check it out on Amazon.com)

Most of us have heard the phrase "learning styles", and we think it means visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. But it means so much more than that. Learning styles include everything from the way you communicate to the things you're good at to the whether you like it warm or cold when you're learning. There are so many aspects that come together and make you a unique learner. If you can get a good grasp on what those things are early in life, you can set up the conditions necessary to help you achieve your best.

About me:
I am a producer. In other words, I like to schedule, organize, do workbooks, read, and make lists. (If you know me, you know this is so true!) I am the type of student that public schools are set up to teach. My highest score for talents was in life enhancement - which means I'm good at keeping everything in order for everybody else. (Michael thinks I should've scored high on mechanical reasoning, but that I just don't see that ability in myself.) I also found that I split pretty evenly between between auditory and visual learning...which explains why I need both!

About Michael:
He's a thinker/creator. Duh! He musically gifted. No big surprise here. He also scored high in math, which is why I defer to him on all math related decisions. He scored evenly between auditory/visual/and kinesthetic.

About Brenna:
She Relates and Inspires. That pretty much means she's social. She needs to interact with people. I can see it now..."Brenna does well in class, but she talks too much..." She scored high in a lot talents, but I think that was because the directions said to take whatever answer she gave me and she thinks she's good at almost everything. Interestingly, she had a low score for auditory which explains why she doesn't understand when something is explained to her...over...and over....and over...and over....

As a family:
Sometimes I need to be reminded that everyone is not just like me. Though I'm most grateful that everyone is different, I sometimes get a mindset that what works for me will work for everyone else. The book really helped to highlight our differences in a fun way.
I'll want to read this book again when Brenna is in school. I think knowing how she learns will help us to be better parents. Right now, though, it helps me to understand some of why she does what she does. (like talking non-stop and appearing not to understand what's been repeated five times straight.) I realize some of this is typical of her age, but I also think it's important to know your kids. Someone once gave me the advice to be a "student of my child". In other words to learn everything I can about them. I think I want to do just that!

(Some things in the book were not realistic. For example, the authors seem to think that a parent could have a few conferences with their child's teacher and convince her to adapt her classroom to their child's learning style. Public school teachers have too many kids to be able to teach to specific learning styles. Additionally, when I finished the book, I was a bit overwhelmed with information, and not entirely sure how to put it all to good use. These "negatives", for lack of a better word, were minor and I definitely recommend the book.)

P.S. I wish I'd read this book before I started teaching. I was a teacher stuck in my own learning style. I taught the way I'd been taught and according to the way I learned best. A challenge like this, would've done me good!

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