Learning Expert Claims that Students are not Taught to Learn the Way the Brain Learns

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Teachers are made aware in college that everyone learns differently, however, they are not taught how to teach students accommodating the styles that work for them.

Brian Walsh, bestselling author from Victoria, Canada, claims that many teachers are unaware of the concept of unique learning styles. Studies have shown that everyone takes in information differently.

A number of teachers are not aware that while some students learn by auditory and visual means, others have a primarily kinesthetic style. A kinesthetic person learns through moving, touching, feeling, and experiencing. Schools often do not include experiential activities in later grades. A great many of our high school drop outs are kinesthetic learners. Naturally, there is a challenge in the higher grades and in the corporate world. Kinesthetic techniques require movement, and this may seem foolish to teenagers or adults.

“Not only is it important to employ these tools, the learners must become aware of their value. Let’s convince the trainers first, them they can work on getting the learners to buy in”, says Walsh. In addition, kinesthetic techniques will reinforce learning for everyone, no matter what learning style they possess.

Classroom instruction is often delivered in the teacher’s own learning style, and only those students who learn that same way will absorb the material easily. A student whose main learning style differs from the teacher’s will find learning to be a challenge. “We are taught in college that students learn differently. The problem is that we are not taught what to do about it in our classroom,” explains Christine McAlpine, a high school teacher in the Pflugerville School District near Austin, Texas. The key here is for a teacher, or indeed a corporate trainer, to vary styles, methodologies, and media to accommodate all styles.

Walsh explains that the brain works in pictures. He says “Words are pictures, and if someone has a reading difficulty, then written information is not only a chore, it doesn’t get encoded in the brain properly.” When talking about the importance of preparation, he compares the brain to a computer by saying that as information flows in, it looks for file folders. If there are none, then delays and blockages occur. Organization and preparation greatly improves the integration of new data.

Some teachers do not understand how memories get encoded. A new bit of information gets split up into many parts, and placed all over the brain. Walsh says “In a sense the information is dismembered and when you want to recall it, these pieces are assembled or re-membered.” Memory is imperfect since not all the pieces are gathered efficiently. The key is to take in information with as many senses as possible.

Walsh’s research reveals most curricula are designed for left-brain learners (mathematical, logical, linguistic); however, many students have intelligences that reside in the right brain. According to Walsh, author of recently published, Unleashing Your Brilliance, “These are the ones that just don’t ‘get it.’ These are the ones who are left behind.”

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Irene Watson
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