“Everyone learns in different ways on different days.” That is a phrase that goes around Blue Sky School. It speaks to the infinite amount of people's different learning styles and that not everyday will be catered to a learner’s preferred learning style. It also shows that people learn at different paces.
My learning needs to be organized or I can’t function but for someone else maybe their true learning happens when they get messy and are very hands-on, and that’s okay.
At Blue Sky we do a survey in the morning called “How Do You Feel” to let our coaches (teachers) know what our mindset is in the moment and generally throughout the day. This addresses the part of the phrase, "Everyone learns on different days." So if I am feeling really tired or worn out or maybe there is something hard going on in my life then the coaches will know that and may not push me as hard. But on the flip side if I say I am having a great day and I am ready to learn, the coaches will know that that is a good day to really challenge me.
We also have the freedom to express to our coaches when something is not working for us and it is also recognized that we all have different needs. Here are two examples of expressing our different needs.
We have something called a Socratic Wheel it is a tracker for individual goals that we set at different times in the year. If you look at the different Socratic Wheels you will notice how they are all different. That is a product of 1:1 meetings we have with our coaches to address what we specifically need to work on.
Another example of the different ways of learning is our accountability checklists. This is a system we use to track the progress we have made on our Socratic Wheel goals. When I finished my meeting to make new goals I realized I needed a new checklist that worked a bit better for me because I did not have anywhere to put the time I worked on things, and I wanted to set it up differently. So I added things like a spot to put the amount of time I worked on something because lots of my goals called for a specific amounts of time. I added other things like a spot for the date, a place to track how many times I worked on something etc. This system works a bit better for me right now but I am still in the process of testing it.
Here is the link to my accountability tracker so you can see it. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nPrFjjYnDsJYPx8Ychv4IA4kYgMZa8Rt59yNuiiZz6Q/edit?usp=sharing
People have different ways of learning and it is important to figure out how you learn. You are learning all the time whether you know it or not and learning is not just things like math and science. You don’t have to be sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture. Learning does not have to be boring. When you hang out with a friend you are learning social skills or maybe you are playing a sport that takes mental and physical power. It is important to recognize when you are learning and to know how you learn so you can take advantage of every opportunity.
Learners also need to know that it is okay to have a bad day. Sometimes through the chaos, mistakes, and messiness of learning is when the best learning happens. For example in a lab if you mix some chemicals and maybe added to much of one thing and it explodes well now you know for next time to be more careful and you have also learned what happens when you fix that combination of chemicals. It’s okay if you have a day where it is hard to listen to a lecture or maybe write an essay. That is where the importance of how you learn comes in. Knowing what will work for you when you are having a bad day so that you can still take a hold of your learning no matter what.
Learning is a never-ending process and can be messy and cool and planned all at the same time. I could have something planned like working on my science report but maybe my computer stops working. Well then I could read and learn a different skill set of literacy or write my hand and learn how to properly format a report.
Don’t be afraid to try. Raise your hand in class even if you are not sure of the answer. Ask for help. I am sure that most people you ask will be happy to help.
Learn at your own pace. If you speed through everything then are you really learning and just taking in information and repeating it back. I did that with French. I am in the process of learning French and have been in French immersion all my life. I can speak French to a certain degree but my grammar and reading comprehension is fairly low. Then, one day we did a French book club at school. I didn’t understand the book but I was pretty sure everybody else in the group did so I would push off my reading and if I didn’t get around to it before the book club met then I would just pretend I did not read it because I did not have time or because it was boring. During the last week I realized that doing what I was doing was not conducive to my learning and by procrastinating I would never learn so I quietly ask Brianne (one or our coaches) for help trying make sure no one saw. We read the book and I finally started to understand it. When people saw me getting help they didn’t care and I realized that it was okay to ask for help. As a bit of self reflection I think I tend to do that a lot. When I don't understand something I pretend like it is boring. I am working on asking for help more.
Learning truly is taking in information processing it, and digging in deep to find out more and discover new things. Learning is not simply a quest for knowledge but is also a quest for understanding queued by curiosity. An example of this would be my passion for chemistry. One of our mentors Midia came in and did a few workshops about chemistry. I had also discovery that i liked science but I had but I had never been introduced to something like chemistry. I really enjoyed it and was very excited to be in a chemistry workshop. I started a chemistry project and this year one of my goals is to explore sciences.
I hope you understand that is okay to have different learning styles and learn at your own pace. Remember everyone learns in different ways of different days. How do you learn best?
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