Saturday, 23 July 2016

How Do Students Learn Best?

When I reflect on schools, teaching & learning in my maturing years, I am always amazed by the conservative attitudes of the majority of teachers to that vital dynamic of learning.

I lay the blame on the reactionary Education systems. Australia is a good example. The system nutures and mirrors the same attitudes within teachers. And they, in turn, reflect these in their reluctance to explore the many advances in learning available in our digital age.

Who's strung out to dry ... well, the students of course. Did we forget that teaching is only about the students?

Let me give you a personal example ... when I started teaching I also taught science. Now I thought that the standard methodology then was a nonsense ie use of a graph book (lined on the LH side and graph page on the RH side).

The rigid process of an experiment was to follow a write-up template of Aim, Apparatus, Method and Conclusion. Diagrams were drawn on the graph page. Any of you remember this?

So I changed this process to ruling the pages vertically into halves and documenting each step with a short description on the LH box and a relevant diagram in the RH box. So the science experiment report became a series of small steps each with a brief description and a visual.

Because that was the way I thought students would learn better.

It all worked beautifully as the students observed, thought and recorded everything in small steps using both words and graphics.

It's not unlike the teaching of maths is it?

The point of this little story is to never give up searching for the Holy Grail of learning ... there is a better way and it's probably not the way you are teaching today. Or told to teach!

Think about your personal schooling, your teachers, your teacher training, your head teacher, your colleagues etc ... then relate all this to your kids. Don't you think there's a huge gap between the way your brain developed compared with those of your kids and their mates in today's world?

Now go into your classroom and keep exploring for the Holy Grail of learning. You'll find it.

Love your comments and views on this ...

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