Thursday, December 30, 2010

Welcome, 2011!

2011 is around the corner. If possible, it sounds even more futuristic than 1999 or 2010. Although we're not popping eggs-and-ham pills for breakfast or jetting around in our jetpacks, the future is here. Firmly. Steadfastly. Absolutely.

One thing last century's science fiction writers got right, is the school of the future:
  • classroom computers
  • hand-held access to a global network of knowledge
  • e-learning
  • cooperative learning
  • learning according to your individual style.
From Creative Learning, we have one more thing to add:

Happy New Year, everybody!

(Our office will reopen on 10 January 2011.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Season's Greetings

The Creative Learning offices will be closed from 23 December 2010 till 10 January 2011. We will be checking emails periodically.

May this Holiday Season be whatever you've dreamed of: peaceful or wild, with too much or too little sleep, with snow or hot sun. Here's wishing you a tremendous 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Secrets of successful teaching: flexibility and matching styles

(excerpt from "The Power of Diversity" by Barbara Prashnig)

1. Matching students’ learning styles with the appropriate teaching styles will always lead to successful interaction between teachers and their students, and result in improved learning outcomes as we have seen in this chapter.

2. High flexibility for achieving genuine style matches is maybe more important, and teachers need to be confident in choosing their methods and strategies, and must be prepared to try something else when the usual methods don’t work. This ‘something else’ should not be trial and error, but based on a sound knowledge of students’ learning style needs. But isn’t that what teachers are supposed to do anyway, you might ask. Supposed maybe, but very few teachers are actually flexible enough to change their methods according to their students’ learning needs because most teachers have a very limited repertoire of teaching methods - remember, they have all been trained by the same analytical system - and when the few well-known strategies don’t work, they are soon at their wits’ end, blaming everyone and everything else for their students’ failure and finally give up on them.

Another reason for this unfortunate situation is the fact (again based on research findings and our own

experiences in data collection) that teachers are among the least flexible people of all professional groups. The majority have very strong preferences based on analytic, left-brain dominance, paired with very strong beliefs about what’s right and wrong in learning. They find it very hard to flex and adjust, prefer to stay with what they know, even when this knowledge is outdated, and generally resist change.

(...) It is quite obvious that educators need to become more flexible, and teachers who are now working

with learning styles realise that it is they who have to be the most flexible person in class. Highly flexible people usually get on well with others and you probably remember one or the other teacher who was well-liked by everyone, who always found a way to get on with others and were a great inspiration for the young ones.

(Purchase link: "The Power of Diversity" by Barbara Prashnig)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Santa Claus and his Learning Style

Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, here is a fun puzzle for you: what do you think Santa’s Learning Style might be?

Let’s figure it out together.

First of all, Santa must have an amazing memory. Imagine remembering the Christmas wish list of every child in the world! Most of the letters to Santa come as text or pictures, so he has to be good at visual input! But you can also whisper your wish to him in the local supermarket, so his auditory memory should be pretty awesome, too!

Now consider all the toys Santa

makes through the year: that’s a job for a tactile person. But, but, but he also travels the world - by sleigh or surfboard or bike - to deliver presents. He must be kinesthetic!

He works well alone or in a group of elves. His preference is to get the bulk of the chores done at night, especially if you remember to leave milk and

cookies (intake) for him. He is very responsible and never fails to give you a present.

What other Learning Style elements can you th

ink of? Go on, have a try.

Do you know your own Learning Style?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Jobs, Career Choice and Learning Styles

Your Learning Style is important not only for school. The sport you play, the people relationships you have and the type of job you choose all depend on the preferences and non-preferences of your Learning Style. When talking about your unique style at work, we usually refer to that set of preferences and non-preferences as your Working Style.

Some elements of your Working Style have no bearing whatsoever on the career path you choose. Others are of paramount importance. It all depends on the job. Because the Pike River Mine disaster is still very much in the news, I can’t stop thinking about all the people involved and their Working Style profiles:

  • Miners usually display a preference for teamwork, routine and kinesthetic learning.
  • Rescue workers exhibit a preference for working style elements such as variety, responsibility and high perseverance.
  • Security inspectors need to be analytic as well as holistic thinkers, with a reflective decision making style.
  • Crisis managers often have to be comfortable making quick decisions, so their style should be impulsive rather than reflective. Their information processing should be a good balance of analytic and holistic thinking.
  • If your job calls for working nightshifts, it’s a good idea to have a working style preference for concentrating in the evening hours.

Of course, some personality traits, such as bravery and compassion, cannot be classified using the Working Style Pyramid. And that’s as it should be. People are unique blends of their Working Styles, personalities and souls.

(For more information on determining your Working Style, have a look here.)