What are your beliefs about learning?

Do you just go in there and teach or do you think about the ways in which your students learn best?

Just mention the periodic table and my daughter bursts into song  ‘Hydrogen, Helium…’

She has little if any interest in things scientific or mathematical. She hated maths at school and I recall a science teacher once reporting to me that she had fallen asleep during class. It was a race to see whether maths and science teachers gave up on her or she stopped trying first. She spent her final years at a school that specialized in the arts, where she focused on drama, theatre, art and music. These days, at 26, she is fluent in Spanish and runs a children’s arts and literacy foundation in Ecuador.

So how is it that she recalls the periodic tables fifteen years after learning them?

As part of a 6th grade performance, the music teacher set the elements to music. The catchy tune and the elements of the periodic table have stuck in my daughter’s head ever since.

What does this tell us about how learning works?

What does it tell us about the ‘one size fits all’ model of school?

What are your beliefs about learning?

7 thoughts on “What are your beliefs about learning?

  1. I totally agree! All learning must start with the child. This can be as simple as asking children how they learn best. Then designing their learning around them. It’s not hard, because all that time you would have spent on behaviour management doesn’t happen, as students are engaged and happy learning in away that suits their own personal learning style. In saying that I have found most students find singing and rhyming very helpful, especially when it comes to things that generally need to be rote learnt i.e 12 X12 is 144 shut the door it’s 144! or 8 X8 is 64 sticky floor 64.

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  2. Great post! I’m always very nervous when I see teachers teaching to a whole class and not taking into account the different personalities, strengths and needs of the individual people in the class. My own beliefs are that we should know our students as individual people – getting to know what they are passionate about in their daily lives is often the key to enthusing them about what they are learning in the classroom. I also believe strongly that we need to value them as teachers also – we can learn just as much from them if we have a truly shared learning and mutually respectful environment that links directly and explicitly to the world outside the classroom walls. Absolutely agree with Katrina – do this and you have very few behaviour issues.

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  3. I think that it is amazing that the tune set with the periodic table is something that she still remembers! I still remember Conjunction Junction and the School House Rock Just a Bill. I think that the things that we are as interested in fall to the way side so that our brains can handle what we enjoy and the things that we have to remember to survive. When you are teaching, you have to be open to teaching things in new ways even if it feels uncomfortable to you.

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  4. There is a big smile on my face reading this Edna. I often tell that story about your daughter and the Periodic Table ‘episode’ from high school…but reading it here reminds me to keep thinking about it…thank you : )

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  5. My name is Leslie Fail. I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I agree that it is important to use a variety of learning strategies to reach all students. Rhymes and songs are a great way to help students remember things. When I taught kindergarten, my students loved to sing the days of the week to the tune of “The Adams Family.” I also learned the prepostions by singing them in middle school. Today, I still remember the prepositions because of the song.

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