powerful moments in education
I wonder if pastors, preachers, religious leaders and the like, are aware of how to successfully equip listeners with the strategies to truly comprehend, to truly internalize the concepts? For some teachers, this comes relatively naturally, and for others, this needs to be taught- and I would bet most great teachers find they are following the process without even knowing it…
Mine do, my pastors, that is. This post has a gestation period of a number of weeks… Effective teachers are well aware of the process a learner’s mind and soul need to truly understand a concept. I live by Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT and always return to it when I feel like a disconnect pops up like a weed between my students and true understanding.
The brilliance of this model is that it approaches all types of learners, cycling these 4 Quadrants. The little R’s and L’s say which side of the brain you are working in that “eighth” of the quadrant. There are learning inventories you can take that place you in one of the quadrants of the model, in a fun scatter-plot. (By the way- I LOVE graphs and charts. Really love them. A lot.) My scatter plot places me right at the top- I am a Q1 learner ALL the way. Can’t tell you how much I got my mouth into trouble in high school because I demanded to know why I was doing anything, if the teacher didn’t provide that connection for me. Interestingly enough, the inventory I took places my secondary need in quadrant 4, which makes sense because I love to perform- in every sense of the word, I mean isn’t that what teachers do all day? Plus, I always have dreams that I am starring in my favorite musical or on stage, yet I forget my moves and words…
Anyway, to translate the model for you, it basically goes like this: Connect learners in a seemingly unrelated, but familiar, way, discuss it, experience the concept with an image- something non-verbal if at all possible-, then teach the information. (We just went through Q2 if you are lost). Next, the learners need to take this information, experience a variety of examples and extend these examples through other experiences or stories. Finally, the connection of this concept is explored in broader or abstract ways, with the hopes that the learner can devise a plan to apply this new idea. Finally, questions are asked, answered, researched, and pondered to refine thinking, leading right to the performance of the skill, with an audience receiving your message, and hopefully starting the cycle all over again, on his or her own.
I notice this during every Sunday service (the ones we make it to- we are not perfect :) ). Q1- We sing and pray, preparing us for what is to come. Q2- They open with some sort of image to continue our connection to the future words, today it was an animated short, from Ice Age I think, depicting an animal on an upward climb, unsuccessfully trying to capture an acorn, get to the top and plug spraying water leaks along the way. Other times it is a short clip of people or interviews telling about life changing experiences. Then he teaches, or shares teaching from the bible. Q3, he continues to provide examples and Bible messages for us to mix in our own experiences, and Q4 they send us out into the world, with thoughts and questions on FULL blast, to be refined through further reading, praying…blogging… In the end, the idea is that we would internalize the message and clearly be able to pass it on to others.
I wonder if the world really understands that teaching anything- Math, the Bible, Science, Writing- is in essence a journey through the heart, around the brain, and out of the hands and mouths of the learner? Hopefully, I have left you with something to ponder and share with others, regardless of your religious beliefs.