I have learned that people learn in many different ways. First of all while teaching in an alternative school I could not understand why the students who were extremely intelligent were in the school in the first place.
Through careful observation I noticed that some could remember entire rap songs. Others were able to make friends easily. Then I noticed the students were extremely gifted in coming up with ways of getting out of work while others were great athletes.
Why could’nt they learn the regular curriculum? Through interviewing many of the students I found there was little to no motivation for them to learn so I set out on a quest to solve the problem. I had them write a mission statement for their lives, write their goals, and write their values. After that I asked them to write an essay identifying themselves without using their names in the text.
What I learned was astounding! These children could learn-they just couldn’t learn the way I was teaching. It was then I began to explore brain-based learning and found out that there are seven intelligences. I will not mention them all here but I found that some learned through pictures, some through hearing, some physically, and still some musically. I started to experiment with teaching students through the medium that they learned in best and the results were that 50% of all my students while in alternative school got their G.E.D. and enrolled in community college or four year colleges while the honor society students were still in high school.
What had I discovered? I discovered that their are several things that must be done:
1. The first thing is to learn how the student learns.
2. Get the student’s attention.
3. Engage the student in something that interests him/her.
4. Relate their interest to what you want them to learn.
5. Control their environment.
6. Develop a life plan detailing step by step instructions on how to achieve their goals.
7. Be a mentor.
8. Care for the student.
Coupling all these strategies with brain-based learning has helped many of these students excel in their lives. Remember you must get the students’ attention to have a chance to begin impacting their lives and you must control their environment to ensure that influences you instill in the student’s life will be effective.