Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two different kids, two different styles

"How do you teach kids that are so different?"

I have talked about this before, but I will touch on it again because I keep getting asked. :D

Every teacher has to deal with different personalities, BTW. The difference is that she cannot change her teaching to accommodate different personalities and learning styles. She has to teach one way for 20+ kids. There are bound to be kids lost in the process.

However, I can change how I teach. And I do for each child.

PJ (he is 11) is my future engineer. He is methodical and precise in how he approaches his work. He is a visual learner and can learn just from reading about something. He often comes up with great ways of explaining things in his own words. If I give him 2 weeks of assingments at once, he works each day's worth, checking things off as he goes.

Camryn (she is 9) is the opposite. The only way I can be sure she really is my kid is because she looks just like me. She learns best by doing things or seeing them done, not reading about them. She often needs things explained to her in several ways before "getting it". If I give her 2 weeks of assignments at once, she freaks out. She ends up with a pile of papers scattered around her, wailing. (Did I mention she is a bit of a drama queen?)

So I do what I know is best for each child. I change how I approach things and how I present material. Most material is designed to be self-taught (for homeschoolers), and that works great for PJ, but Camryn sometimes needs more help. And that's okay.

Camryn often knows the answers, but she likes to bounce them off of me before committing them to paper. And that's okay.

PJ works best with the radio on and having noise around. And that's okay.

Camryn wants complete silence. And that's okay.

One of the main gripes I have with our educational system is how it makes kids that are different to feel like something is wrong with them. That they "should" be a certain way. There is nothing inherently wrong with any learning style - it is just that our educational system is geared to cater to one - the ones who learn well from just reading from a book, sitting in one spot, in complete silence.

So the ones who learn better when they can move around, chat with someone and work with their hands are out of luck. They are "disruptive" and get frowny faces or demerits or whatever.

Please don't get me wrong - kids need to learn how to behave. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about taking kids who need to talk almost as much as they need to breathe and expecting them to be quiet for hours on end - it is torture. And trying to get a kinesthetic child (who learns by touch/with their hands) to learn by sight is just crazy. They are not wired that way! It is setting them up to fail.

Changes need to be made. I am glad we decided to change instead of waiting on the school system to change.

1 comment:

EquineSpirit said...

AWESOME post! My two oldest boys are the same as your two! And I totally agree with the educational system and learning styles. :D