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THE MYTH OF LEARNING STYLES
In the field of education buzz words and techniques come and go. One big idea that has gained traction over the last few years is the idea of learning styles. This way of thinking declares that each individual has a method of learning that is best for them. For one person it might be visual, for another auditory, and yet another might benefit from kinesthetic learning. In fact, entire programs have been built around teaching students in a specific manner to match an individual style. We can understand why this idea has gained momentum because we feel like we have a learning style ourselves.
 
The reason learning styles is a myth is that it is NOT supported by research.
 
{I explained a bit more of this at my recent coffee chats. You can listen HERE if you are interested.}
 
While it is a myth that each child has a learning style and can only learn in one manner, I would absolutely agree that each of us has a learning preference. However, limiting students to only one style/method of teaching, even if it is their preferred style, is detrimental.
 
You see, we all learn best when information is solidified in our minds through VARIED learning strategies. Allow me to illustrate. Students may catch a decent bit of a new concept when explained verbally, but the understanding is deepened when they then see an illustration of the idea, and deepened further when they touch the idea (blocks, drawing, notes, experiment, etc.). Students can then take it a step further when they are asked to explain or defend an idea.
 
When a student is exposed to an idea with a single method it may indeed be understood, but when students receive information in a variety of ways, all students are helped, not merely ones that prefer that teaching method.
 
We discover this to be true in our own Bible reading. When we merely read or listen to the Scripture, we obtain one level of understanding or memory. However, that improves when we take notes, underline, or annotate our reading. Our comprehension continues to improve when we discuss the reading with a friend or teacher, read commentary about it, or see pictures of it. Finally, when we have an opportunity to teach a lesson about what we've learned the information comes alive.
 
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
 
First, I think it is important that you understand that your child can learn in a variety of forms and is not limited to one. Not only can they learn in a variety of ways, but understanding and retention is improved when information is presented in different forms and they are asked to interact with that information in various manners.
 
This is also an area of emphasis for our teacher development this year. We are working to give teachers an expanded tool box of methods and ideas to use in their classrooms to help expose and involve students with varied methods. Pray for us as we dive deeply into this area of professional development this year. It is exciting and your students are already benefiting from varied teaching methods.

MAKING LEARNING FUN
Lafayette Teaching Methods
Susan Keller, Lafayette Campus Principal, explains, "Our teachers are very creative in their approach of engaging their students. Songs are used frequently with fun hand movements to drill previously learned or new information. The students are having so much fun; they hardly notice they are learning! Another great tool is the boy vs. girl competition that is used from flash cards to reviewing the parts of the sentence. This is very effective at any age. There are various math fact competition games, most notably 'Around the World,'  'Capture the Card,' and 'Battle' which all include some form of body movement. In the upper elementary, teachers are having the students discuss and collaborate on literature topics in groups and with the entire class. Science classes include hands-on experiments that draw students into deeper understanding and allow for problem solving and the development of the scientific method of observation and experimentation to prove theories. Across the board, there is the use of manipulatives so that students can touch and build the concepts being taught, strengthening their understanding and application."

BODY SPELLING


1st grade students use body spelling to reinforce their writing and spelling skills. If the letter falls between the bottom and middle line on the penmanship chart, students make a motion with their hands on their hips to imagine where the letter will be when they write it. If the written letter reaches up toward the top line of the lined paper they put their hands up straight and if it goes below the bottom line they touch the floor. This practice helps them not only move around and stay active, but it also helps engage their recollection when they are writing at their desks!
ARE YOU UP FOR A LITTLE FRIENDLY COMPETITION?

math competition
Algebra 1 is having a friendly competition as a good review for a test.  Each team chose a name based on a color and a geometric entity, such as the Teal Trapezoids or the Orange Ocatgons, Peach Rhombus, and the like. They were given slope problems, and each student had to do his or her own work, consult with team members to agree on a final answer, then the entire team had to stand in order to signify that they were done and ready to give me an answer. Each correct response earned one point for their team, and the winning team earned bragging rights!

DID I SAY THAT?

recitation
Mr. Thibodeaux has students recite a memorized passage aloud for the class as a way to sharpen their public speaking skills and engage memorization! 

November 29th Coffee Chat
Family Mission no details

Mr. Scott Davis
Head of School
Westminster Christian Academy
sdavis@wcala.org

" A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that  pours from the press and the microphone of his own age."  - C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory