Teaching the Way YOU Learn

Creative Commons photo by Andreas Ebling on Flickr

Think about how you learn best.  What motivates you?  Excites you?  Encourages you to know more about a subject?  If you could learn using any instructional strategy you wanted, what would you choose?

Next, think about how you teach.  What is comfortable for you?  What strategies do you enjoy using most and are your “Go-to” instructional methods?  If you’re having a tough day and didn’t get the time you wanted to plan a stellar new lesson, what practices do you rely on? What methods do you struggle with, enjoy using the least, or possibly avoid?

Now, think about how your students learn.  What motivates them?  Excites them?  Encourages them to know more about a subject?  If they could direct how you teach, what would have you do?

For some students, how they learn and how I learn fit very well.  When I plan lessons and think about learning, I feel I can do pretty well by them.

For other students who learn differently than I do, it can be a struggle.  I have to consciously make an effort to include instructional strategies that I don’t like, because I don’t learn that way.

I am more of a visual and auditory learner.  It’s pretty easy for me to come up with teaching techniques that utilize these types of learning.  I am not a very good hands-on learner.  I have to work pretty hard to come up with something that engages my students who learn this way.  I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic colleagues who are hands-on learners.  They have helped me to develop a better understanding of this learning style and how to better integrate it into my own teaching.

When I discuss with students what works for them and what they’d like to see more of in my classes, competition is almost always one of the responses.  I struggle with competition.  I am not a competitive person and I don’t understand this mindset very well.  It’s actually something that can set me on edge.  When I think about the students I have difficulty motivating or don’t connect with as well as I’d like, many of them have a competitive nature.

So I’m asking for your help.  I am looking for resources and instructional strategies on how to better reach my competitive students.  What works in your classroom?  Are you someone who enjoys competition?  How do you leverage that for your own learning or teaching?  What instructional strategies do you find comfortable or challenging?  Do you find yourself teaching how you learn?

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2 thoughts on “Teaching the Way YOU Learn”

  1. I play a variety of “games” (which I borrowed from awesome online resources) in math class (that can be adapted to any class really) which have a bit of a competitive edge to them if you’d like or can be viewed as non-competitive as well.

    I play what I call “A Minute to Win It” I make a math word problem on a piece of card stock and then cut it into 8 parts and spread them apart on a desk. (I actually do about 20 of these- for partners in the class) kids need to put the puzzle together and solve the problem in a minute- then they move on to the next one. The kids love the competitive feel of trying to get all puzzles done in time and they are working together to solve the puzzle and get the math down (and you pretty much could make the problem a science question, a history based problem, etc)

    I also play a game I borrowed from Sue Van Hattum called “Risk” in this game, students start with 100 points and are asked to “risk” however much they want to answer the first question, if they get it right they now have that many more points to risk on the second question, etc. There is a total of ten questions and kids race to see if they are getting them right. It tends to be a lot of fun and there is that element of competitiveness if kids want to go against one another. (I assume you could once again use any sort of question, mine are math based obviously)

    There are other games that I play but these get kids some of that competition they are looking for while not making it a knock down drag it out fight to beat one another.

    Eric

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