Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A, B, C, it's easy as 1,2,3....

Have you ever thought about how you learn before? Mr. Curly and I used to have the conversation in college. I learn through reading and listening, I don't need to see it and I don't need to touch it. Unless it's a car or wood working project, then I need to see it. But otherwise, talk to me or let me read a book. Mr. Curly is very much a tactile learner. He wants to touch it, take it apart, put it back together, look at it from all angles. He likes pictures and just plain words are not a fun way for him to learn (can you imagine the struggle he had in seminary?)

I haven't really thought about it since then, until a couple of months ago during a Saturday lunch. Most Saturdays, the Curly household gathers on the couch for lunch to enjoy a bit of TV and a sandwhich. It's a nice break from the table.

This particular Saturday, we were watching a documentary on rockets. During one segment, there was a man in an empty room talking about the cameras they put on rockets and spaceships to get film footage. Curly Girl was quiet during the segment, then during the commerical says "They put cameras on the planes. To take pictures when the planes go REAL HIGH!"

Mr. Curly and I could hardly respond. We had no idea she was following what the man was saying. I mean, there were no brightly colored puppets acting it out!
But I watched Curly Girl after that, and thought about how she had learned in the past.

Curly Girl is cautious. She doesn't do much without seeing someone else do it first, or thinking carefully about how it will work. It has been a struggle to get her to attempt new things (balance beams, slides, trampolines, walking....) Usually though, after she has thought about it, and maybe watched someone, or we've had a discussion, she tries something new. And if she gets it, then she wants to do it again and again and again.
She loves to read and look at books, and she's a talker. I can explain what we're going to do, without showing her, and she gets it.
I think she learns a lot like me.

Curly Boy, well, he learns like his daddy. I can't figure out yet if it is his age, or that he's a boy. He doesn't put things in his mouth (hasn't since about the time we introduced sippy cups and straws), but he has to touch everything! And it's not enough for me to say "That square won't fit in a round hole" he has to try it himself. And become frustrated when it doesn't fit. The look of surprise on his face when it doesn't work is priceless. Or, he does get something too big through, and then he works to get it out. And he will work at something until he can figure it out, and then claps because he is SO SMART!!

I'm proud of that. I'm proud of his ability to work until he can figure something out.
I'm equally proud of Curly Girl's ability to think something through until she is certain it will or will not work and then act.
There is merit in both.

Now I just have to figure out how to teach a tactile learner, because teaching a child who learns through reading and listening is easy for me, but tactile.... well, that will take some research.

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