How Do You Learn?

Friday, October 12, 2018

When was the last time you learned something new? 

I mean - totally brand new? I had to contemplate this question myself if I was going to ask you the same! I think for me, it was back in April when I had my eye surgery from a torn retina. I was on bed rest and had to lay on my side and do nothing. That's a hard request for someone who always likes to be on the move! So I signed up for Skillshare - a site that has hundreds of online classes on many topics. I had a 2 month free trial and took as many classes as I could. I had a blast learning new things - brush lettering, creating hand-drawn wallpaper, ink and watercolor, doodle art, and much more. I chose things that were of interest to me. I love writing (I was the kid that loved writing research papers!) and wanted to improve my handwritten documents. Plus, I love making things. I found that I could learn the new material easily because 

  1. It was visual (I am a visual/spatial learner)
  2. I was passionate about the topic
  3. I practiced using hands-on application (I am also kinesthetic)
  4. I could pause and repeat (I forget easily and need to see it again)
  5. I made the time to do it

How does your child learn best? I loved studying Howard Garner's Multiple Intelligences when I was in college. I find that it is quite true and I loved sharing the theory of multiple of intelligence with students. I consider about my own kids. My daughter excelled in school, especially reading and writing. She was driven to do her best (and she still is!). My son did not really like school. He wanted to pursue art and music, originally. He grew up thinking he "wasn't smart" because spelling was difficult for him. I knew he was brilliant. He just didn't feel that way because he was comparing himself to others that were linguistic. He pursued his music career until one day the science behind wires intrigued him. He set out to study physics and graduated from Berkeley with a Physics degree. Lauren is body and linguistic "smart" and Brett is musical, spatial, and logical "smart". God has given each the talents and abilities they need to do HIS work. 

You see, there are several types of "intelligences" and schools often focus on linguistic (spelling, reading, writing) and logical/mathematical (math). So, if students struggle with reading or math, they deem themselves as "not smart" which simply isn't true. (Another great reason to study the Growth Mindset.) These areas CAN be improved even if they are not the strongest in this area. Most likely your child is "smart" in one or more of the following "intelligences":

  • Spatial: Art, the ability to see things in the mind, conceptualize. These students do well looking at pictures in order to learn.
  • Body/Kinesthetic: the ability to move the body to solve problems. These students benefit from movement, acting, sports, building things, taking apart things, hands-on activities
  • Musical: sensitive to sounds, tones, music. These students benefit from songs in order to memorize, etc.
  • Linguistic: the ability to make meaning of words. These students do well reading, writing, journaling
  • Logical/mathematical: the ability to conceptualize logical relations. These students enjoy numbers, charts, graphs, data
  • Interpersonal: the ability to interact with others. These students enjoy group work, collaboration, teams
  • Intrapersonal: the ability to understand one's own goals and feelings. These students enjoy working on their own, planning, journaling
  • Naturalistic: the ability to make distinctions in the world of nature. These students enjoy animals, plants, being outside
Most people tend to know their own strengths and reading through the list, you may have an idea which appeal to you most. It's fun for kids to learn about their own strengths. Here is a fun self-assessment if you want to try it out! 

Please - share with your kids that God made them just right! He has given them specific skills, talents, interests, and "intelligence" to do His work in the world. We need people with skills in ALL these areas! 

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