It hit me this morning. One of those AHA moments where you want to knock yourself on the head and ask, “Why didn’t I think of this before?”
Here it is… brace yourself… ready…? When teaching a math problem, if a struggling student is a global learner they will learn the process better if you show them the solution first and work the problem backwards. Not just in math though. Let’s take an essay for example. Show the student a completed essay then break it down into its components to show how the parts made the whole. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? In Brain Friendly Strategies for the Inclusion Classroom Judy Willis says global "learners process information best when instruction starts with the whole and breaks the content down into parts.” I only have one or two global learners in my class each year. These learners are almost always strongest in the naturalist, musical-rhythmic, and kinesthetic intelligences. This knowledge can have a great impact during lesson planning or for interventions. Combine a whole-to-part global lesson with music or an activity requiring movement for best results with these students.
Most students and teachers are analytic/sequential learners. Therefore we teach in a part-to-whole format. It just makes sense to us. But not everyone learns the same way. Every brain is different. This knowledge can have a great impact in the classroom.
Why This is ImportantKnowing the thinking/learning styles and intelligences of your students is very important. I test for that at the beginning of the year and record it in my grade book for easy reference. (If you are looking for some good inventories and ideas, an excellent book is RTI Success: Proven Tools and Strategies for Schools and Classrooms, by Whitten, Esteves, and Woodrow.)
Every brain is as unique as a fingerprint. Each brain processes information differently. Therefore to be truly effective as a teacher it is not enough to know the learning/thinking styles and intelligences of our students; we must act on the information. This information gives us a map into the long-term memory of both global and analytical students. So, work backwards if you have to...AHA!