Are You Using the Magic of \\\'Multi-Modal\\\' Teaching and Learning?
Aug 6, 2009 Learning Methodology 2662 Views
Have you ever felt that you were a really good learner but not necessarily in the way learning took place when you were in school? Did school sometimes make you feel stupid? Many of us feel this way, and because of this, many of us also feel that we must not be very smart.
In formal education you basically learned to learn in two or three ways -- the famous "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic" that are at the heart of most of the learning we did in school.
Take yourself through a quick inventory of some learning strategies in the table which follows. See what you can learn about your own learning!
When you have something that you really want to learn or something you need to teach to others, what do you do?
Check off everything on the list below which applies. Trust your intuition. Don't over-analyze this!You may add some of your own ideas at the bottom of the list as well.
___ Talk with other people to get their advice
___ Read books or articles on the topic
___ Listen to informational tapes or CDs
___ Attend a workshop, seminar, or special training session
___ Watch a video, DVD, or go to a movie
___ Search for information on the internet
___ Just figure it out for yourself
___ Make diagrams, pictures, flowcharts, graphs of the information
___ Memorize facts, figures, concepts, or statistics related to the topic
___ Interview an expert or some other knowledgeable person
___ Do library research or purchase books on the topic
___ Spend time alone thinking about it
___ Subscribe to magazines, journals, or periodicals
___ Observe & copy a master
___ Watch educational TV programs
___ Seek out some kind of spiritual guidance or insight
___ Go for walk to mull things over
___ Meditate on it
___ Make up a song, jingle, or rhyme to help remember
___ Get out into nature
___ Find a coach or mentor to consult with
How many of the items you checked did you get to use when you were in school? In order to learn smarter, we've got to find ways to tap our true genius for learning.
I want to tell you two stories to illustrate what I've been talking about so far. Both are stories about my daughters. Neither of them learned the traditional way. They struggled all through their formal education and exasperated their teachers in the process!
DAUGHTER STORY #1
My eldest is very much a BodySmart learner. When she was in school she was always wiggling in her seat. Her teachers frequently had to tell her to sit down because she would be at someone else's desk wondering what they were doing.
At home, when she was doing her homework, she used the "wandering nomad" approach to learning -- she would be all over the house, first lying on the floor with feet propped up on a coffee table, then a few minutes later, going to the kitchen for a snack with a book in hand, reading. Next she'd be sitting on the back of a sofa. I would often say to her, "Esther, will you please get started with your homework!"
She would say to me, "Dad, I am doing it. I'm almost finished!" Her teachers often thought she was trying to disrupt the class, but at home she would always say, "If I'm going to learn this, I've got to be moving around." And she was right. If I'd made her study my way she would never have gotten it. When she did it her way, she learned the required material quickly and easily.
I also discovered that whenever I could incorporate physical movement into the learning itself, using role playing, dance, physical exercise, and gestures, she would learn the required information more quickly, she'd remember it longer, and, more importantly, she'd have a much deeper understanding of what she was studying.
DAUGHTER STORY #2
My younger daughter, Naomi, is very strong in ImageSmart. In school she drove her teachers crazy with her endless doodling during lectures. Every margin of every worksheet or paper was filled with little pictures, images, squiggles, and doodles. She carried a secret supply of colored markers in her purse. When the teacher's back was turned, out came the markers so she could add color to her drawings.
Many a teacher would say to her, "Naomi, put those markers away and pay attention!" She would put the markers away, but, interestingly enough, as soon as the markers were put away, she was no longer paying attention. There was something about the activity of her doodles, pictures, images, colors, designs, and squiggles that kept her involved in a lesson.
For Naomi to learn something she had to be able to visually represent it in some fashion through drawing, painting, sculpting or creating pictures inside her head.
"MULTI-MODAL" TEACHING AND LEARNING
I am suggesting that if you want to reach everyone, every time in the mentoring, coaching, and training you provide you've got teach whatever you're teaching "multi-modally". What is multi-modal teaching and learning? In a nutshell . . .
-- The more different ways you learn something, the more you really learn it.
-- The more different ways you learn something, the more you will remember it.
-- The more different ways you learn something, the more you will genuinely understand and assimilate it.
I want you to see how easy and fun it is to reteach yourself and your participants to learn in this way. You used to know how to do this when you were a kid, so really all I'm suggesting is reawakening how you once learned!
The 8 Kinds of Smart (a.k.a. multiple intelligences), which are already inside of each of us, provides you and your participants with an easy and practical way to learn and teach multi-modally. For real learning to occur it must happen throughout your entire brain-mind-body system!