Aug 03 2007
Let Me Ask “Why?”
I want to share an absolutely fascinating thing that just happened with Harvey and Susan at Thoughtful Classroom. As adult learners, we took the learning styles test last evening and we haven’t looked at it yet today. After lunch, Harvey and Susan ask us to look at Guernica, by Pablo Picasso and then jot down whatever occurs to us, what we see, thoughts or ideas. We are asked to write 5-7 things that we think.
During my couple of minutes I write:
- What’s wrong with that poor man on the right?
- What horrible thing is occurring to cause this depth of despair in the world?
- Is the light at the top causing their pain or is it a way out of the pain and suffering?
- What is the significance of the handheld light, like a candle?
Here’s the super cool thing about this activity. Lois is primarily a mastery learner, meaning that her learning style is good at working with and remembering facts and details. I am primarily an understanding learner, meaning that my learning style is curious about ideas, has a high tolerance for theory and abstraction. The Thoughtful Classroom learning style inventory says that my learning style is constantly asking “Why?” and that the questions tend to be provocative and probing.
Without any idea where the activity was going, Lois and I were completely true to our learning styles! Imagine how much less I would have liked this activity if I was forced to answer according to Lois’ learning style or Lois to mine. The note making activity described next allows us to take our students to another level, one on which they can make their notes more meaningful.
This is so powerful in its implications for reaching more students because it allows us to teach them the strategies they need to learn that are unknown to so many of them.