Thursday, August 26, 2010

What is a Teaching Style?

We all know that every individual has his or her unique style of learning, be it using visual props, listening to a tape recorder or pacing up and down the room. However, while working extensively with Learning Styles, Barbara realised that the same is true of those who teach: every educator will have their own special Teaching Style.

A Teaching Style is the way in which the educator communicates his or her knowledge to the students and delivers the curriculum.

But do styles of teaching really vary so much? When we think back to our school days, some teachers were better than others, yet they all used the blackboard or the overhead projector. It was all pretty much the same, wasn't it?

Yes, most teachers use the blackboard – or now the whiteboard - even if they themselves are not visually inclined. And most teachers will expect pupils to sit still in their desks. Still, in her research, Barbara discovered that the personal learning style of a teacher will always influence the way they teach, the way they interact with their students and the way they shape expectations of their students’ performance.

For example, if the teacher enjoys making study aids, they will bring those to the classroom, and they will probably give their students lots of hands-on projects to do, like building a model of the water molecule. If the teacher learns kinesthetically, they will probably deliver the lesson in a much more lively style, moving about the room and involving students in physical activities.

There are many benefits to knowing your Teaching Style.

Every teaching Style is unique. What is yours? Have a look.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stressed Out Teachers

It’s the end of another long day. Your head is pounding, your teeth are clamped and there are a thousand and one knots in your shoulders, each with a different story of obstacles you had to overcome today.

Stressed? You bet. Teaching is a wonderful and worthy profession, but unfortunately stress is the price you have to pay for it.

Or is it?

Research shows that stress is caused - in part - by our work environment as well as by the way in which we approach our tasks.

For example, if your natural inclination is to work in a darker area with soft lighting, it is incredibly stressful to have to function in a brightly lit classroom. You may not even realise it, but every time you walk into that dazzling room with its blinding fluorescent tubes, your blood pressure begins to climb: up, up, up and up, all the way to the dangerous limit.

Similarly, if you prefer to work in a relatively quiet environment, a noisy classroom will contribute to your stress levels. If you are tidy, it’s annoying having to work in a chaotic environment. If you don’t enjoy teamwork... you get the idea.

So what can you do about it? The first step is to become aware of all the factors that contribute to your unique Working Style. Would you believe it, there are more than 40 such factors, and if just a few of them are impeded, stress is sure to follow? To find out about your Working Style and what to do about reducing your stress levels, please click here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Troubled Teens and Learning Styles

It's not often that a popular fiction book, a thriller, deals with the thorny issue of parental responsibilities during their charges' teenage years. Harlan Coben, a New York Times bestselling author, has recently produced two such novels: Hold Tight and Caught.

Hold Tight delves into the delicate dilemma of "should you spy on your teen's Internet activities". Caught asks whether it's OK for teens to consume alcohol at home when it's against the law: if your child will go out and drink anyway, is it better for a parent to provide a safe haven of a beer keg at home.

Creative Learning doesn't have the answers to those questions, that's something every parent has to decide for themselves, having the full knowledge of their child.

What Creative Learning can do, however, is supplement your knowledge. Is your child likely to sneak out at night and go to a party, then accept a drive home from somebody who'd been drinking?

If their Learning Style has preferences in these areas:
  • learning with peers
  • noise
  • kinesthetic input
  • intake
  • external motivation
  • evening
as well as a non-preference in the following areas:
  • responsibility
  • conformity
  • routine
chances are, they may be a little more unruly than is safe for them.

What is your teen's Learning Style. Find out today.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Chinese Wisdom and Learning Styles

(origin unknown)

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled. "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Everybody has his or her Learning Style. What are your unique flaws? Celebrate them here.