Observe How Your Child Learns Best

I'm auditing an e-Learning ecologies class from the University of Illinois. It is explaining the difference between didactic and reflexive pedagogies and shows how to create ubiquitous and active knowledge making learning environments.

If you have no idea what I just wrote, don't worry, I wouldn't have understood it a week ago either.

But here's my point. This course is bringing back a lot of memories of my education experience in the 1970s classroom.

I was usually reprimanded for two behaviors:
1. Talking
2. Standing
I was probably told to "sit down" more than anything else as a child. We used to have to complete these purple ditto sheets. 
Can't you just smell the ink?

The more I concentrated on them, the more I would rise up out of my chair. When I got in trouble for not being in my seat, I usually didn't even realize I was standing up next to my desk.

Here's what I've discovered. I process best what I've learned by discussing it with others. I concentrate better if I'm standing up. It's why I don't like to present or teach while sitting in a chair.

My youngest son, Johnny, spent over a year of his high school career studying alone with me in a NYC apartment. It didn't take long for me to realize he learned best when I read the textbook aloud to him and if he could do something with his hands.

When he was able to go back to his high school in Pleasant Grove, I made sure that most of his electives were classes where he could use his hands (photography, ceramics, cooking, welding, etc.) and for his required classes, I got permission to read aloud his textbooks to him. I also got permission to have him dictate his writing assignments, and I typed what he wrote down. Then together we edited his paper.

He went from barely passing his classes to making the honor roll.

Here's my thought to all of those parents who are now trying to navigate learning in a home environment (notice I didn't say homeschooling).

Pay attention to how your child wants to learn. Are they chatty? Do they fight having to stay seated? Are they fiddling with their pencil or paper? Do they need frequent breaks? Are they irritable with background noise?

This is a wonderful opportunity to discover how our kids learn best. Then we are a more empowered advocate for them when schools reopen.

To read more about Johnny's educational journey, click here.  

To download a great kinesthetic learning tool for free until June 2020, click here.