I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now - by Julia Smith

How do I learn?  This is a question that I ask myself all the time.  What hinders and what helps my
learning? Before I came to Blue Sky School,   I was only ever exposed to one type of learning style. That
was the teacher at the front of the classroom explaining a concept and then giving us a worksheet. This
worked for me.  I didn't have any trouble learning this way, but I was bored. This stunted my creativity.
I never felt like I had an opportunity to take my work to the next level or challenge myself.  It was the
same thing day after day.

I had always thought that this was the only way of teaching/learning.  When I came to Blue Sky I
learned that there are actually many different ways of learning.  At Blue Sky we don’t call our “teachers”
teachers, we call them coaches. Something that our coaches say a lot is, “Everyone learns in
different ways on different days.”  I was really excited to discover what type of learner I was, and how
I learned on different days on different ways .

People used to believe that each person had a single learning style that worked best for them.  Recently,
this theory has been disproven, but there are parts of it that still resonate with me.

Reading/writing: reading/writing learning

                        These are the four main learning styles

After learning about these four different learning styles , I discovered that I prefer the reading/writing
learning style.  I think I have always preferred this style of learning.  As I mentioned before, I did well
in the traditional school setting, because my teachers would give us worksheets.  Some of the students
in my old school seemed to struggle. Maybe this wasn't their preferred learning style?

An example of the fact that I chose to work in a reading/writing style is when I try to learn a new math
concept. I read up on how to do it and practice it with the page in front of me to correct myself.  If I do
something wrong or get stuck on a question, I can just look back on the page and re-read the part that
I am having trouble with.  This is more efficient than having someone explain it because I do not prefer
auditory learning.  I can't really rewind their voice, but If I am reading, I can look back at what I am
having trouble with.  

At my old school,  we were never allowed to listen to music during class.  At Blue Sky , everyone was
listening to music while they were working so I decided I would try it too. Listening to music didn't just
work for me, it actually helped  improve the speed at which I could think.

This is a picture of me doing work and listening to music

Something that I find quite fascinating is that depending on the genre of the music I listen to, I work
differently.  For example, when I am listening to upbeat pop songs, I tend to be more stimulated and type
faster. When I listen to slower more meaningful music, I am calm, focused and tend to generate good
ideas.  There has actually been a scientific study to see if music helps you learn. They discovered
something called the “Mozart Effect” ( Conducted by Nick Davis)  throughout this research they
concluded that listening to music could enhance  intelligence, improve memorization skills and could
improve focus on a task by providing a motivational and inspiring mood.  

Before this exploration I thought there was only one teaching/learning style.  Now I realize that there are
4 main learning styles. If my teacher in my traditional school only spoke and never gave us reading or
writing tasks, I probably wouldn't have done so well.  At Blue Sky we are encouraged by our coaches to
try different learning styles to find out what type of learner we are. Often when the coaches teach they do
the following, they provide visual representations for visual learners, they say the information to
accommodate auditory learners, they will provide you with a document or notes for people that prefer
reading/writing learners and we will sometimes  use our bodies in workshops to accommodate to people
that prefer kinesthetic learning. Here are just a few other examples of ways that the coaches incorporate
all of the preferred learning styles:

-Using our bodies to represent points in a graph  
-hands on experience

-Visual representations

-coaches explain the concept verbally

Reading/writing learning
-Notes  to read

After being taught in multiple learning styles, I have learned that everyone works differently and that
teachers should include all learning styles in some way so every child can learn in their preferred learning

This is just one of the things that I love about Blue Sky School how everyone is taught in their preferred learning style!

I wish I knew then what I know now.


  1. In the traditional school system they usually use a the acronime of W.I.T.S. relating to accountability
    of dealing with only conflict, I feel that V.A.R.K. could be used as much mainly for how students learn and what works/ what learning styles do not work.


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