powerful moments in education
Across the room, gazes are barely upon me. Shifting glances make their way to my eyes, attempting to send the message that yes, I am trying to hear you. This is the unannounced litmus test appearing, telling the teacher to be quiet and let them get to the experience already.
According to Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT model, generally, 4 types of learners exist (with subcategories, of course). And I would say that most “personality” or “learning profiles” in my experience can be viewed in overlay, that so many parallels between them say so much about humankind as learners. We have our WHY? our WHAT? our HOW? and our IF? learners, Quadrants 1-4, respectively. Perceptive, talented teachers will plan for these learners, often without even knowing, because it makes sense.
What quadrant are you? What role does that play in your communicating and teaching? What can it tell you about others? Well, I am Quadrant 1- and then strongly Quadrant 3. I need a reason (WHY) to learn something- a REAL reason, and then all I want to do is test out HOW to do it until I cannot test anymore…I research what I need to know to continue, or finish (but not always…actually rarely…) and then I move on to the next WHY? I enjoy understanding this about myself, because it causes me to realize those who will not hear or absorb any factual teaching until they personally create a need or connection, followed by some “tinker time” before they are ready to receive instruction.
Conversely, others accept Quadrant 1, WHY? as, well, just because! Because you here, and you are a student and that is what you do! While this is all well and fabulous, knowing to question why is awfully important. Yes, one should be compliant when dealing with teachers, but asking why could be the most important part of the learning. Regardless, many of these head nodding, eye contact making learners are dying for Quadrant 2, dying for me to dish out information, or at least dish out an organized chart, or graph, or resource where they might consume it on their own.
And then, of course, we have our Quadrant 4 learners who, before you EVEN finish the directions, ask, “Are we going to share? Can we act this out? Is ——‘s class going to come to see? Do we get to make a poster?” (I struggle with the existence of posters :) )
Understanding oneself is the start to understanding those with whom we communicate, collaborate, instruct. We either need to to recognize our style as foreign or familiar to our partnerships, at any age, 5, 10, 15, 95…
Foreign or familiar.
And if it is foreign, then what?