Written by our Preschool Teacher, Barb Gant
Are you an in-the-box learner or an out-of-the-box learner?
I believe that is one of the most important questions every teacher needs to ask about each child in his or her class. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make each student fall into your box. However, what happens when we force students to fit in your box? As a mom of a dyslexic child; I advocate for my child to be taught in her box. When that doesn’t happen the teacher begins to label children as “lazy”, “immature”, “a dreamer” or “a trouble maker”. The reality of a child that learns differently is that they work harder to maybe achieve “less” in the teacher’s eyes. What a teacher may see as “immature” may be a child saying I don’t understand the way you are teaching me. The “troublemaker” may just need a different approach to learn the lesson.
As a teacher knowing the different learning styles and how the brains of children work is an important part of knowing how to teach. Learning styles include the auditory learner, visual learner, and the kinesthetic learner. The auditory learner learns best through listening. The visual learner thinks through pictures and images. The kinesthetic learner learns through moving, touching and feeling things. The brain is amazing. In the left part of our brain, we have the ability to store knowledge, and the right side of the brain is where we store images or pictures, music, and colors. So, when we are working with young children, it is important to create a learning environment that is filled with opportunities for the child to be successful in learning.
As a teacher, it is my job to learn and know the needs of my students and do everything possible to meet them where they are in their learning. It is my job to discover the “why” behind the learning for every student that walks or maybe runs into my classroom. To be an awe-inspiring teacher means knowing “different” behavior does not automatically mean misbehavior. That is one of the many things that the Red Apple teachers do so well. The teachers at Red Apple understand that each child is a magnificent, amazing, and uniquely creative gift from God. The teachers understand that each child learns differently and responds differently to the ways of teaching.
Red Apple teachers balance teaching children through teacher-led learning activities and hands-on independent exploration of their environment using as many of their senses as possible. Red Apple Teachers know that children learn through doing, exploring, touching, and experiencing. By allowing the student to learn through both teacher-led learning activities and independent exploration, you are allowing the learning to come through the student’s box. Providing the students multiple ways of learning provides a learning environment that encompasses all the senses thus enhancing the learning of the child.
Our children are not robots that can be programmed to absorb information in the most convenient way for the teacher. Our children are unique, and each one learns in a unique way. It is the job of the teacher to discover what the learning box looks like for each child and teach each child to his or her unique learning style.