Learning Philosophy

( image on the right courtesy of About Learning.com)  

Finding meaning                                      

People learn when they are taught in ways that speak to their mode of thinking and being. The kinesthetic learner will only learn if he or she can move. The social learner will only learn when arranging content within groups of people for activities. The musical learner needs a rhthym or a song. The mechanical learner needs to build something. The self discovery learner needs to figure it out on his own. There are many modalities. How is a teacher to address all these needs?

Concepts of teaching focused on other modes besides reading

Instructors cannot individualize their classes, it is impossible. Instructors can work with patterns of instruction so they are likely to meet the needs of many of their learners. There are  many ways to go about this. Computer technology can provide ways to make multi-modality instruction happen. A few examples are, incorporating audio through podcasts, using more visuals to connect,finding or producing music through assignments, and group projects on wikis.

Skillful means to achieving multi-modality education exist in many forms

My first encounter with multi modality instruction was with the Bernice McCarthy (2006) "4mat" system . This system bases learning on going through four cycles of exploration based on answering the questions why, how, what, and how can I apply this? Her research was based on whether you are left brained, right brained, introverted or extroverted. In her philosophy I identified my self as a "self discovery learner" ("how does this apply?" stage) Knowing this about myself helped me understand my needs as a student and a teacher. There are many schools of thought and definitions of multi-modality teaching, exploring any of them brings a much greater amount of success to any classroom. Currently, in my K-8 school I am teaching at, we are learning a method called "Understanding by Design" (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). This involves planning backwards and planning ways to reach more learners within their modalities

If educators could find a way to make school more connected to their students

My philosophy of learning is that people learn when their styles as individual thinkers is given a chance at expression. There is much research that substantiates the fact that people learn best by doing and not just hearing. A teacher, to be effective, has to give their students chances to do activities that that apply to real life or give students a chance to teach others or resonate within their personal world and the way they relate to the world, somehow. Students can discover who they are and motivate themselves by seeing how they fit in with this world. School is in a time where, despite great research and writing, we persist on having instruction be centered fully around reading and writing. When will be the day  we acknowledge that we lose 75% of our students the moment we engage in that linguistic focus? 

McCarthy, B,. (2006) Teaching around the 4mat cycle. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J.(2005). Understanding by Design. Expanded 2nd Ed. USA: Cleveland, Ohio: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.