Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Learning Styles – Part One


How Can We Teach?    First -- How We Learn


            Years ago, when we first began homeschooling our children, our concept of education was quite typical of many parents. We were going to teach them with the textbooks that they had been using, going grade by grade – until they were ready to graduate. However, after just a few weeks of using textbooks at home, our outlook on education was gradually changing. In a short period of time each day, the children easily completed their “schoolwork” and were bored – now what was I supposed to do? We adjusted our schedules and I began researching options for curriculum.


Most bothersome of the textbook method was that their retention of the material was only short-term. While they could make excellent grades on the weekly tests, they couldn’t recall the material after just a few weeks had passed. They could memorize the bolded words, and other key information, but it was short-lived in their minds. Somehow, I was going to find a way of teaching and learning that increased their retention while they got more hands-on learning.


“Now that education is so easy, men are drilled for greatness,

just as dogs are trained to retrieve. In this way we've discovered a new sort of genius, those great at being drilled.”  G. C. Lichtenberg


            The textbook method was great for filling their heads with facts and other information, but I can see now why many people call it a form of “drill and kill” – killing the joy of learning, while producing more folks like me that were great at Trivial Pursuit, but not getting any closer to discovering what their own talents might be.


“Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.”    Marcus Tullius Cicero


The more I researched, the more that I learned about children and the learning process. I discovered that the lowest level of learning is that of rote memorization – the level that is utilized primarily by textbooks. This level is called the “knowledge” level – that of recalling data. These learning levels are summarized in a study that came to be called “Bloom’s Taxonomy.”


Next week we will take on learning styles and Bloom’s Taxonomy – Learning Styles – Part 2.  If you have any questions about my posts, leave them in the Comments link below this post, and I’ll answer them in the weeks to come.


©2006 Amanda Bennett


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