We should care about Learning Styles because they affect every age level and every part of our lives.
Your learning styles make up who you are. They include your interests, your personality, the way your brain processes information, and all of your natural gifts and abilities.
Learning Styles are about coaching our children to discover who they are as unique creations. When we honor our children’s learning styles we acknowledge the way they are made.
How else can our children grow up with confidence in their abilities? Will they become confident, happy adults if they are constantly learning that they are not good enough? That they aren’t measuring up? That they are not working to potential?
Millions of children are learning at this very moment in classrooms around the country that they are not smart, not serious, not motivated, not capable, and have nothing to contribute. How can that be? Aren’t these the same kids that were so smart when they were 2, 3 and 4 years old?
It is because, despite all the rhetoric about each child being an individual, our classrooms continue the one-size-fits-all model of education. The kids who need to move are labeled hyperactive or ADHD; those who need time to reflect and ponder are labeled ADD; those who need to verbalize and ask lots of questions are labeled impulsive; those who need to discuss or have conversations in order to learn are labeled disruptive. Students who are not ready to read or write at 4 or 5 or 6 years of age are forced, then labeled dyslexic. Kids who are tortured by workbooks and desks and book reports are labeled lazy or slow or unmotivated or disrespectful, or all of these.
Did you know that the majority of people in the population are hands-on, experiential learners? Only a few are print learners: read-the textbook-and-answer-the-questions types of learners. So why are classrooms set up to only shine the spotlight on those lucky three to five students who have the “magic” learning style combination for school?
Those hands-on, experiential learners are our potential inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, musicians, poets, philosophers, artists of all kinds, missionaries, and creative people. They share the same learning styles as Einstein and similar brilliant
people whom we admire. They are the students whoare often labeled with a learning disability, who experience failure almost daily in school, and who don’t realize how smart they are and that they have unlimited possibilities. What a tragedy!
Each child’s special learning styles need to be acknowledged and encouraged if each child is to grow up to be the person he/she is meant to be.
I believe that parents have an obligation to protect their children from damaging school experiences that keep them from becoming the people they are meant to be. And teachers also have an obligation to bring out the star in every child by nurturing their learning styles.
This is my challenge to all parents, teachers, and schools in this new year: Can we transform the education of our youth? Can we truly prepare our students for success in life?
It will only happen if we honor the differences in each child, if we look at their learning styles and meet their individual learning needs.
by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, M.S., copyright 2011 by Willis & Hodson, Reflective Educational Perspectives LLC
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