Well that’s the 1st mistake – thinking about the “teaching”. If we instead look at the learners – the students and look at the world from their perspective we may begin to not only accommodate everyone but have them reach their full potential. Most of all have them be happy and enjoy doing it!
So if we take the learning nation of Ireland – what are they like?
Well we have a nation of sociable chatterboxes that have a huge number of successful athletics when you think about the size of the country. We make an impact wherever we go. We are also very generous again for the size of Ireland we contribute hugely in charity donations, peace keeping and volunteer work . We are hugely proud of anything irish!
So in simple terms that makes us Auditory, Kinaesthetic learners that need huge amounts of encouragement and praise. We really care about what everyone thinks of us, so like most other parts of the world we are a largely extrovert society. We need to work with others in social settings.
The hugely interesting fact about auditory learners is that they don’t need to just listen – they need to talk as well! The idea of them starting school at 5 and learning to be quiet is ridiculous. We work our way through so much in Ireland by gossiping. The chatty taxi driver, the toilet queue or the local shop. It makes us able to cope with the weather if nothing else. One of the real difficulties with being an auditory leaner (besides just being in trouble for talking all the time) is the rambling way we work – there is no structure. This is the most common difficult many of our students have – especially all the talky kinaesthetic boys who are brilliant on the sports pitch and feel rubbish at everything else in school – they simply have no idea how to structure an answer or to focus their thoughts on to the page. It’s ok to write the way you talk too.
The best way to work with auditory kinaesthetic learners is through role plays – this is sociable group work that allows us to talk out scenarios – we get to put ourselves in the situation – we all do great in this part of the oral exams! We are a country with lots of political views – it’s important for us to get to talk about these! Students drop off the chairs when we ask them what they think – but it is so much easier to write about what you feel, especially when this is what matters to you when your kinaesthetic. Normally boys just get to run this off on the sports pitch rather than working through it in English or History class!
It’s equally important to allow us to talk about it in our own way – The Irish have a great “gift of the gab” – the wit that has a name for every object, landmark and sculpture! We talk about creativity and innovation – this is a wonderful example of innovation with words! We can express any situation as a joke.
We have always been gifted story tellers – young kids who start school before they are made to feel self conscious about talking have this in bucket fulls.
We are hugely competitive – hence the sports heroes – the mark we leave what ever we have set our mind too … Competition is such a great way to inject energy to any learning environment.
There is a pride deeply engrained in Irish and as a result we can never cope with being made a fool of in public – we may try to joke and slag our way out of any situation but it hurts deeply. Everyone I have ever spoken to in this country has a school story where they lost face – they never forget!
This is why we have to focus on the learners always – the real people we are helping to grow and develop. Every one is different but we all fall into patterns of behaviour that can be accommodated but you can’t just take an education model from one country to another and expect it to work – especially since the models are always developed for the teachers and governments not the students. I have really begun to feel like The Lorax – who speaks for the (trees) students! There are very simple patterns and learning styles but you have to look for them and you have to use each nations strengths and values to achieve what is important for them!