Monday, February 27, 2012

Learning to Learn...

Several years ago I taught a class for the Christian education department of Southeastern Fundamental Baptist Seminary (a Bible college at the church in Alabama where I grew up) on teaching methods.  This was before a minivan, kids, marriage..."life" even? Anyway, there were two books I required my students to read and write reports on. The first was Teaching to Change Lives by Dr. Howard Hendricks.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who teaches children in any capacity...whether it be Sunday School, Junior church, Academic school, or even home school. The reason why we teach IS really to change lives. What other purpose could there be...especially if you teach children at church. I read this book during the summer before I taught the class on Teaching Methods. This was not my first college class to teach but after reading the book it completely changed my method of teaching.

To tell you honestly I don't even remember the name of the second book my students were required to read. What I do remember is that it dealt with the four ways that students learn:  kinesthetic, tactual, auditory, and visual. It is imperative that in a classroom full of children that your teaching methods should include all four of these style of learning. That way every child has the opportunity to understand and grasp the concept you are trying to teach.  These all can be found--along with preferences, styles, and tips for teaching--at Performance Learning Systems.

In watching my son I've learned that he is a kinesthetic learner...meaning he is all hands-on!  He certainly enjoys moving and staying active. I, on the other hand, am a visual learner--I see, I learn. So when I teach Michael preschool I have to incorporate physical activities to reinforce each subject. Take the alphabet for instance. We simply don't just trace the letter and review the alphabet flashcards. We play a letter matching game where he will physically find the capital letter square with the little letter square. When we are learning colors, we walk around the room and pick out objects with that color in it. With numbers we will write them in the air (He LOVES doing this!! We play a guessing game as to which number we're writing.)

Activities for each of these learning styles do not have to be extravagant. Something simple will suffice. But remember not everyone learns the same way you do. And to be a teacher who motivates and changes lives then you have to take into account the different ways each of your students learn.

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