Liberate Your Child's Learning Patterns

Liberate Your Child's Learning Patterns

by Priscilla Vail



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743230513
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
Publication date: 09/24/2002
Edition description: Original
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.39(d)

Table of Contents

The Rationale1
Part 1.Which Learning Patterns?7
Chapter 1.Available for Schoolwork11
Chapter 2.Three-Dimensional or Two-Dimensional19
Chapter 3.Simultaneous or Sequential23
Chapter 4.Multisensory Learning27
Chapter 5.Eager to Make Connections35
Chapter 6.Gifted, Precocious, or Just Plain Smart41
Part 2.Addressing Learning Patterns, Meeting Needs, and Having Fun47
Chapter 7.General Principles of Good Practice51
Chapter 8.Kindergarten57
Chapter 9.First Grade65
Chapter 10.Second Grade79
Chapter 11.Third Grade91
Chapter 12.Fourth Grade107
Appendix ADoes It All Add Up: Myth, Monster, or Monogram?123
Appendix BDolch Sight Word List129
Appendix CResources131


Introduction: The Rationale

This book is about learning patterns, children, teachers, curriculum, classroom dynamics...and you.

First things first. Learning patterns? What does that mean?

Each person has patterns of strengths and weaknesses, clusters of likes and dislikes, and although the particulars may change from time to time, the underlying structures remain consistent.

In recognizing learning patterns, we see how different people learn, what personal energies they tap in the learning process, and the ways in which they absorb information and internalize new concepts.

Most people's underlying learning patterns are unique and permanent, they transcend socio-economic lines, and are not measurements of intelligence. However, from such mechanical difficulties as allergies to such complex situations as divorce, in many instances we can minimize negative patterns with skillful structuring. Similarly, we can reinforce the positive patterns. Whether the patterns are positive or negative, temporary or permanent, they need to be addressed.

What role do you play? By learning to recognize and understand your child's unique learning patterns, you can create optimal learning settings at home. You can help your child apply his own natural strengths to academic tasks and to the real life learning that brings joy and sparks interest.

This book is different from the many articles and books on this subject whose focus predominantly links learning patterns with learning disabilities (LD). While some learning patterns compromise a child's ability to succeed in a regular classroom, others are easy for teachers to accommodate, and they make life more interesting for everyone. And just as students have different learning patterns, teachers have distinctive teaching patterns. Enlightened teachers who understand different ways of learning, and who are aware of their own teaching preferences, can use an imaginative selection of methods and materials to help an average learning-abled student become a learning-enabled success. As a parent, you play an important part in making this happen. By bringing your child's learning patterns to the attention of his teachers, you can help ensure that there are opportunities for him (and other children like him) to incorporate his strengths in the classroom setting. Throughout the book you'll find suggestions to communicate information to your child's teachers.

Intellectual appetite is the phrase that pops to mind, and the parallels with school seem limitless: active cooks and active learners; physical hunger and intellectual appetite; parents and keepers of classrooms, coordinating their efforts; bodily nourishment and food for intellectual growth; commonness of purpose and variety of approach. Variety is the spice of life, and obviously a good blend sets the stage for success.

Our family kitchen makes a tasty metaphor. Just last week, our usually far-flung entire family of three grown daughters, two husbands, our son in his mid-twenties, six grandchildren, along with me and my husband, were together for a long weekend. Everyone was excited to see everyone else, to laugh, compare notes, reminisce, and to hang out around the large dining room table. Cooperative (perhaps well-raised, says the grandmother), each one offered to help with the cooking.

One child is what I would call a sprawler. She gets out every sort and type of ingredient, utensil, and equipment she could possibly need before she begins. It seems that the entire length of highway I-95 would hardly be enough counter space for her.

The next child is what I would call a compartmentalizer. Before beginning, she checks the cupboards and refrigerator to be sure all ingredients are on hand, checks the pot locker for what she'll need, and, taking out only what is required for the first step, she starts the recipe. When finished with those items, she puts them back in place, washes whatever bowls or pans she has used, and proceeds to the next step. Her complicated and delicious treats come from a perpetually orderly laboratory.

Inventor and mad scientist are appropriate designations for the third child. She flings open the doors of the pantry shelves and refrigerator, stands back, hums, and begins to create. She seems to make it all up as she goes along, using her senses of smell and sight to tickle our sense of taste. Her nose is more important to her than the recipe book, and her eye takes inspiration from looking over possible additions or variations.

Next comes the one I would call the biggest-bang-for-the-buck whipper-upper. Knowing exactly which canned and frozen items to combine with something fresh, this cook likes minimum preparation, maximum relaxation, and a tasty result.

Then we have the one I would call Flash in the Pan: Quick ideas that sometimes hit the bull's-eye, but often don't taste very good.

Each has the same goal: nutritious and enjoyable food. But the approaches couldn't be more different. So, considering the setting, the emotional expectation level for the weekend, and the different approaches (which work well in each person's home kitchen but overlap or interfere in shared space), we were loaded with spat potential. How fortunate that, without any "tactful suggestions" from the grandmother (whose teacher persona sometimes arrives uninvited), they sorted out ahead of time who would be responsible for which part of the meal, and elected all noncooks to the cleanup crew.

As we enjoyed the fruits of various labors, I was also amused to notice the different ways grandchildren eat. One child goes for the Calvinist New Englander approach: eat the obligatory stuff first, and save the best for the last. A cousin just his age does the opposite. Operating on the pleasure principle, he tucks into the best while his appetite is the sharpest, and then fills in around the edges afterwards. One little girl, who likes tidy hair and clean hands, mushes everything around together until it's like a casserole. The Tomboy with scabs on her knees keeps all categories widely separated. If her mashed potatoes touch the salad dressing, she considers them contaminated and won't eat them, even though she will eat the salad and ask for seconds. Another child simply picks. All have different ways of ingesting the same offerings.

Similarly, children have different patterns, preferences -- or occasionally -- foibles in regard to learning. Your child's teachers cannot individualize the curriculum for each student, nor should they, any more than the family cook should prepare a separate menu for each person. It's unrealistic. And, in typical contemporary classrooms -- where mainstreaming, increased cultural diversity, ballooning class sizes, and a wide range of behavioral attitudes are the norm -- it's impossible. Furthermore, some of the most permanent and exciting learning takes place as children bounce ideas off one another in group discussion of a common question or concept. What does matter, and matter vitally, is that your child's teachers present ideas and materials in a variety of ways so as to match the learning patterns -- or intellectual appetites and preferences -- of your child and his classmates. Your child, regardless of how he learns, must be allowed to flourish in the classroom.

We will look at six learning patterns and the issues they generate. The choices come from an expansion of the standard, stereotypical, predictable list generally associated with LD, to a more multidimensional set of categories drawn from the research on talent, competence, and success, as well as difficulty. This, then, is a novel amalgam, and one that embraces the different kinds of learners who have peopled my classes. Experienced teachers have met trainloads of students who fit these six descriptions singly or together. In fact, your child's classroom includes students with each of these patterns.

In the first part of this book, "Which Learning Patterns?" we will follow a format: look at each learning pattern, see why it matters, and how it puts children "at promise" or "at risk." While your child's education takes place both inside and outside of the classroom, the focus in this section will be on the impact of each learning pattern in the classroom. Once you know how your child's style manifests itself at school, you will have a better sense of what to focus on at home.

The second part, "Addressing Learning Patterns, Meeting Needs, and Having Fun," begins with the twenty-two Principles of Good Practice applicable to all grades. Then, for each grade level from kindergarten through fourth grade, we will:

• anticipate the major focus of the curriculum, so you know what to expect as your child advances from grade to grade, and see the opportunities and pitfalls for each learning style;

• offer at least three home activities for each of the six patterns at each grade level: 120 total, plus the 22 Principles of Good Practice, for a grand total of 142.

The afterword is followed by three appendices containing a reprint of an article summarizing the current information on ADD/ADHD, the Dolch Basic Sight Word List, and additional resources for those who wish, or need, to explore in greater depth.

Copyright © 1992; 2002 by Priscilla L. Vail

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews