Session 1 – Engaging Multiple Senses
One of the keys of the Academic Life Coaching program is to approach academic learning as a system. From this point of view, grades are not a judgment on a person’s intelligence or effort, rather, grades are a reflection of the system the student is using to achieve those grades. Part of the system is knowing how to motivate and move themselves forward toward their accomplishments.
The magic in the Academic Life Coaching program is that we give students a fresh start and an opportunity to approach school from a different perspective while simultaneously giving them tools to be more effective and productive.
Using the learning styles, we are achieving two things. We’re looking at the steps to take that will help the child succeed academically, while addressing that needed shift in perspective toward a systems-thinking point of view.
Learning is a combination of three things:
1) The ability to place knowledge within a useful context.
2) The ability to memorize new information
3) The strength of the relationship between the teacher and the student.
Learning styles in this exercise focus specifically on helping a child build better memory tools. By focusing on how students are creating those memory tools, we’re helping them become more aware of how they’re memorizing. When students are aware of the particular procedure they’re using to memorize, they’ll begin to do things slightly differently in terms of memorization with the exercises the coaches facilitate. We found that students memorizing things more effectively and efficiently serves for the overall productivity in school.
We also found that when students are more successful and happier at school, they perform better, and their self-confidence grows. These lifestyle exercises also work well for the students who are getting straight A’s and doing well. It simply makes them more aware that what they’re doing is working correctly. It makes them more effective and efficient and, ultimately, reduces stress.
How you best can support your child
You can take the learning style quiz yourself. It’s useful and easy and doesn’t take too much time. I urge you to share the results of your learning style with your child and ask them what exercises their coach recommended to help develop their particular learning style.
From the Academic Life Coaching Workbook
The grades you earn are not a reflection of your intelligence. They are a reflection of the system and habits that you use to learn. If you change your system, you will change the outcome. The next two concepts – Learning and Academic Thinking Styles – are designed to help you think about school and your classes differently.
Learnings styles is a vast topic. Many books have been written about the different kinds of styles and what are the best approaches to learning. When the Academic Life Coaching program was being created, I tried many different systems of learning styles. I found the most effective tools were the simplest, and keeping a focus on just three different modes of thinking and processing information was the best. Those three learning style mimic our senses: seeing (visual), hearing (audio), and touch (kinesthetic).
Because the Academic Life Coaching Program is a life coaching program, it’s important that the information about learning styles is assimilated into action as well as designed jointly by the coach and you. Your Academic Life Coach will have some specific suggestions for how to best integrate learning styles into a study method, and it’s up to you to co-design the exercises to build your learning styles as well as integrate them into your study habits with your coach.
A common question is whether certain learning styles are better than others. The answer is, ‘Yes.’ It can be unfortunate, but certain learning styles are better suited for academic success. A visual learning style is the strongest academically, followed by audio, and trailed by kinesthetic. If your strongest learning style is either audio or kinesthetic, it’s best if you develop that style as well as strengthen your visual prowess.
How to Determine Your Learning Style
The following quiz is designed to give you a quick picture of your Visual-Audio- Kinesthetic Profile. Simply circle the letter to the phrase that best completes each sentence. Trust your first response. Then use the chart that follows to tally your responses.
VAK Styles Quiz
1)I know something is right when:
- It looks right.
- It sounds right.
- It feels right.
2) When I have to make something I like too
- Jump right in and figure it out as I go.
- Look at the pictures in the instructions.
- Read the instructions and explanations.
3) When I am in a new city, to find my way around I like to:
- Study a map.
- Ask for directions.
- Walk around to get a feeling for where things are.
4) When I am showing someone how to do something, I like to:
- Do it first then turn it over to them.
- Talk them through it.
- Point out what they need to pay attention to.
5) When I choose something from a menu, I like to:
- Read the choices and visualize what I want.
- Have someone read the specials of the day and pick what sounds good.
- Follow the feeling in my stomach.
6) When I absolutely need to concentrate, I like to:
- Have something in my hands I can fiddle with as I’m thinking.
- Be still and focus on what’s in front of me.
- Talk it through in my head.
7) When I am remembering how to spell a difficult word, I usually:
- Picture it in my head.
- Hear myself say the letters in order.
- Have to write it down.
8) When I am worried about something, I usually:
- Engage in self-talk and try to talk it out in my head.
- Picture the worst that could happen but try to “fix” the picture.
- Move around and not be still.
9) When I speak in front of a group, I am most comfortable when:
- There’s room where I can walk around and gesture freely.
- I can hear my voice calm and confident in the opening and closing.
- I have a powerpoint presentation or other visual aids set up
10) When I am really happy about something about to happen, I usually:
- See a picture of how great it’s going to be.
- Talk to myself to psych myself up.
- Feel an extra burst of energy and have trouble sitting still.
In the chart below, circle your response to each sentence. Then tally up your responses.
Here are a few recommendations for exercises that will stretch and strengthen your learning styles:
- When reading go straight to creating a picture in your head.
- Draw a quick sketch of the picture when studying.
- Spell words in their mind’s eye forwards and backwards.
- Practice taking a perfect “snap shot” of the information then recreating it on a blank sheet of paper.
- Make up funny ways to say important words or information. Rhyming and alliteration are great.
- Create a quick verbal summary of the information.
- Say it out loud or write it down. The act of creating speech is a great way for audio learners to study.
- Flashcards are key, especially the act of making flashcards helps so much. (Really flashcards are good for each learning style, but especially kinesthetic learners).
- Take notes. By engaging in movement, kinesthetic learners are better able to understand the material.
- When reading scan through the material quickly, then go back and pick up the details.
Exercises you want to use to leverage strengths:
Exercises you want to use to develop weaker learning styles: