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Teaching Strategies For Me 01

How best to teach this student

This section gives valuable, specific information about which teaching strategies may be ideal for this student and why. It may be helpful to share these insights with those who have a significant influence on this student’s learning.

The mind knows what it needs. We crave choice in order to be able to have our minds work at maximum capacity. If learners are allowed to choose their own methods for approaching a task, their choices invariably will be much more accurate than when someone else chooses the method. Honoring the expertise and strengths of the individual taps an often overlooked and sometimes unused natural resource. Choice matters!

Teaching Strategies for Angela

  • Create diverse assignments, variety, choice, change and personalised support.
  • Try to anticipate problem areas and point out clearly how to avoid them. Be very specific, especially with practical details.
  • Opportunities to use any of the performing arts will be welcome. Role play and dramatizations work well.
  • Peer tutoring satisfies Angela's need to connect with others and consolidates the learning in her own mind.
  • Working in groups is usually energising. Incompatibility of styles may cause frustration and stress if there is conflict.
  • Be prepared for many deviations from the topic or the task. With firm, fair and friendly guidance Angela can get back on track.
  • Avoid drill, repetition and rote learning. Studying the basics may be necessary but can seem dull when Angela considers other options.
Teaching Strategies For Me Authors
Original work by: Sue Blair Mary Anne Sutherland © Step Research Corporation

Tips for Teaching Me 02

How best to teach this student

This section looks at the four key areas of this student’s personality and how certain ways of teaching can substantially assist their learning. (Student: You may wish to read through these points and write down the comments that are most relevant for you.)

To acknowledge individual differences in education is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Boredom is not just annoying; it may dramatically affect a student’s brain. So, often learners are not incapable, but rather their natural styles of learning are in direct opposition to the structure of activity. Since experience impacts our mind, we can literally improve or deteriorate depending on how we value the learning and stimulation of our minds. Our natural styles guide how our mind prefers to take in information.

Teaching Angela Tips

Teaching Enthusiastic Students:

  • Provide verbal as well as written feedback
  • Expect a 'do first, think later' approach
  • Let students talk to gain clarity and learn
  • Expect a concentration level that is age appropriate
  • Create a balance of oral, written and active learning

Teaching Imaginative Students:

  • Set boundaries but allow for some deviation
  • Advocate proof reading to minimise inaccuracies
  • Find multiple ways to teach the same thing
  • Encourage expression in a variety of forms
  • Provide non-sequential learning options

Teaching Warm Students:

  • Create a positive personal connection
  • Provide motivational feedback frequently
  • Acknowledge contributions with sincerity
  • Allow learning with friendship groups
  • Expect requests for validation of work

Teaching Spontaneous Students:

  • Create opportunities for personalised exploration
  • Praise an ability to produce results under pressure
  • Have multiple small deadlines
  • Expect learning to progress in bursts and lulls
  • Avoid too much repetition
Tips for Teaching Me Authors
Original work by: Sue Blair Mary Anne Sutherland © Step Research Corporation

Learning with Cognitive Preferences 03

Four instruction approaches based on cognitive processing preferences

The four combinations of how we are energized and take in information make up the four cognitive processes and the four Instructional Approaches that are the framework for Doable Differentiation. Using the cognitive processing framework (see also Visual Type™) for differentiation gets at the root differences in the instructional approaches teachers employ and students find most natural. Not every minute of the day needs to be differentiated! Sometimes, every student does need to be doing the same thing at the same time. Students benefit from spending some learning time in each of the approaches.

Preferred Learning Approaches

More Likely Angela

Let Me Lead As I Learn Let Me Lead As I Learn

Question & Connection

  • Start with the big picture, not the details
  • Let me dream big without penalties
  • Let me find a new way to do it
  • Let me experiment
  • Give me choices
  • Keep changing what we do
  • Let me teach or tell someone what I’ve learned
  • Let me be in charge of something
  • Let me talk or work in groups
  • Let me come up with my own ideas

Less Likely Angela

Let Me Do Something Let Me Do Something

Experience & Movement
  • Start with hands-on activities
  • Give me steps to follow
  • Build on what I already know
  • Tell me why I’m learning something
  • Give me chances to talk, move, and work in groups
  • Set a realistic deadline
  • Give me examples
  • Provide clear expectations
  • Go light on theory
  • Let me apply it immediately

Let Me Follow My Own Lead Let Me Follow My Own Lead

Vision & Interpretation
  • Let me delve deep into things that interest me
  • Avoid repetition and routine
  • Let me figure out for myself how to do things
  • Give me choices
  • Listen to my ideas
  • Let me learn independently
  • Let me start with my imagination
  • Help me bring what I envision into reality
  • Give free rein to my creativity and curiosity
  • Provide references for me to build my own knowledge base

Least Likely Angela

Let Me Know What To Do Let Me Know What To Do

Structure & Certainty
  • Set clear expectations and goals
  • Show me examples
  • Provide the steps in writing
  • Answer my questions as I have them
  • Give me time to think
  • Let me work with and memorize facts
  • Avoid too many surprises
  • Build on what I already know
  • Let me know along the way if I’m doing things right
  • Connect content with past efforts and experience
Learning with Cognitive Preferences Authors
Original work by: Jane Kise © Step Research Corporation

Personal Connection I Prefer 04

How best to reach this student

We all want to be communicated with in ways that make us feel respected and understood. This section offers strategies for the people assisting this student’s learning to connect with them in meaningful ways to which the student can relate.(Student: It could be important to make these preferences known to the significant educators and family in your life, perhaps by having a discussion with them.

Our choices and style preferences are at the core of what it means to be an individual. To be seen, really seen, for who we are, to be known for both our gifts and our challenges, connects us to others. This vulnerable, authentic self expression encourages the learner to bravely take the risks necessary to explore unknown territory and tackle new challenges. The learner may then tackle new or uncharted territory. As the saying goes, “To successfully teach me is first to see me.”

Personal Connection With Teachers

  • It is imperative Angela feel valued and liked. Build a relationship with her before asking her to adjust her work or behaviour.
  • Point out flaws in a 'good news sandwich'. Praise first, then correct, then praise again.
  • Angela may challenge authority without malice. She just sees many other options and is compelled to follow her train of thought.
  • Expect Angela will need help with self-regulation, particularly staying on task, completing assignments and being on time.
  • She is deeply affected by criticism, sarcasm and negativity.
  • Angela picks up on nuance of tone, facial expression and body language. She may infer negative implications incorrectly.
Personal Connection I Prefer Authors
Original work by: Sue Blair Mary Anne Sutherland © Step Research Corporation

Key Issues For Teaching Me 05

How best to teach this student

We all need help to understand the learning spaces that are ideal for us. This section looks at the four key areas of this student’s personality, tips to optimize each area for success, and what issues may limit their learning. (Student: You may wish to read these tips through and note which are particularly relevant for you.)

Our personalities profoundly govern choices made within the structure of our lives and then, of course, within our learning situations. Having an accurate understanding of our own temperament and preference choices gives us ways to recognize the strengths or blind spots in our learning. Often we are speaking to another individual, but are we really communicating? Are we speaking the same language? Our own style may limit our view and blind our full understanding of another's style.

Teaching Angela Key Issues:

Enthusiastic Student Key Issues:
Noise control and distractibility

  • Channel extraverts energy by giving active roles
  • Provide a means to write down questions or responses to avoid interrupting
  • Set clear boundaries and expectations on where and when discussion happens
  • Build in external stimulation and interactions

Imaginative Student Key Issues:
Imagination and possibilities

  • Whenever possible offer choice
  • Learners may miss details in pursuit of novelty
  • Boredom is an issue when repetition is demanded
  • Try to be patient with consistent alternative thinking
  • Engage imaginative minds with problems to solve

Warm Student Key Issues:
Connection and self-worth

  • When a learner is overwhelmed try to build confidence by offering support
  • Learners will work well when they feel appreciated
  • Ask questions that show personal interest
  • Create a sense of belonging to the learning group
  • Acknowledge their loyalty

Spontaneous Student Key Issues:
Adaptability and freedom

  • Offer choice within reasonable boundaries
  • Value the 'work is play' ethic
  • Offer variety in activities and movement
  • May frequently lose track of time
  • Be attentive to learners boredom threshold and provide alternative activities
Key Issues For Teaching Me Authors
Original work by: Sue Blair Mary Anne Sutherland © Step Research Corporation

Cautions For Teaching Me 06

How best to teach this student

We all have our blind spots, which we may remain unaware of for many years. This section illuminates possible personality tendencies and preferences, which could cause educational challenges, and suggests how to consciously optimize each aspect for this student's success. Realizing and honoring this student’s individual style preferences,with no judgement, can be the first step to overcoming or sidestepping negative learning experiences arise from them while narrowing the gap between this student’s potential and their actual achievement.

Teaching Angela Cautions

Enthusiastic Student Cautions:

  • Too much quiet time is demotivating and exhausting
  • Ideas may appear muddled as learners talk to clarify
  • Require regular change of activity to avoid boredom
  • Adept verbal skills may indicate more confidence and competence than exists
  • Enthusiasm and energy can be misinterpreted and criticised, leading to tuning out or acting out

Imaginative Student Cautions:

  • Learners can be upset when work produced fails to meet their vision or dream
  • They may display unexpected ability with complex issues and difficulty with learning the basics
  • Once a concept is understood they often move on, despite the fact the work may not be finished

Warm Student Cautions:

  • Praise often; saying nothing is seen as criticism
  • Personal circumstances, either good or bad, strongly influence learning
  • Show understanding and concern when learners are upset
  • Efforts to please will diminish if learners feel the teacher is inauthentic, misleading or bad tempered

Spontaneous Student Cautions:

  • The drive to experience trumps the need to complete
  • The best work is done when pressure-prompted
  • Teach timing rather than lecture on responsibility
  • Aim to provide a flexible educational experience
  • Many things may get left or lost; try not to sweat the small stuff
Cautions For Teaching Me Authors
Original work by: Sue Blair Mary Anne Sutherland © Step Research Corporation