Are you one of those people that have the urge to touch everything around you? I constantly fiddle with things, brush my hand across surfaces, play with my fingers.
This morning I helped with childcare at my Church. There was a four-hour membership class so my friend and I hung out with four 6-9 year olds and a 2 year old. She was a classic 2 year old, whimpering for her momma non-stop. I don’t blame her, it was normal nap time. She would have spurts where she’d be fine, then “sniff sniff momma momma” and so finally I took her by the hand and started walking over to the sanctuary, and she stopped crying. But when we were by all the people, she didn’t seem to be looking for her mom, so we kept walking. All around the gardens and sidewalks and fences. I let her lead as she held my hand.
And you know what she would do? Her tiny hand would reach out to touch everything that passed us. The rock wall, the fence, the bushes, the flowers. She wasn’t stopping, just brushing past, feeling everything around her. We kept walking. And she was calm.
When I finally realized this, I made sure we walked around things that she could reach and feel. She would not be distracted by us talking to her, the movie playing on the screen did not interest her, but the Connect Four was amazing. The balls were fun. The marbles were hilarious. She needed to touch everything. How did I recognize this? She was just like me.
Why? Blame my predominant learning style. I learn best in a tactile environment, with hands-on activities. And we live in world with schools filled with lectures. Not fun. Of course, I learned to live with lectures. I am a natural learner, so I just adapt my kinesthetic learning to its class by taking notes and drawing pictures.
Some people say they only have one of the three learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) and blame the lack of learning on their teachers’ lack of adaptability. The thing is, we learn in all three and one is usually dominant.
Good teachers do not categorize the three learning styles but learn to integrate all three into their classroom. You cannot compartmentalize. Auditory is easiest to prepare, visual is easier than kinesthetic. Hands-on materials take time to organize. But the work you put into your students is often how much they will learn. But to ever fully understand a concept, we need all three. This is not an excuse to be lazy, this is a call to understand yourself.
And this is why I want to learn more about children. I want to be able to help them through stressful situations, by recognizing what God put inside of them. This is the importance of education: through learning more about people, you can love them better. For that is what we are called to do. I want to start listening.