I signed out of my email this morning and found on the news page an article about dooling and memory. I knew it. Test subecjts who doodled while listening to boring stuff remember signifigantly more of it than those who just listened.
I started doodling on my notes in school in the fourth grade. In college I had a few classes in which I could not doodle. Machine shop and endless computer classes. Other than that I presistantly doodled my way through school. And when I cared about school (there was a few years in high-school when I didn’t try at all) I made nearly straight A’s.
My sister’s a doodler two. She’s one of the smartest people I know. She’s graduating with her Bachelors in Math this may. She’s twenty. She’s one of those geniuses who sets the grade curve too high for anyone else to get more than a C+ so her profs have to skew things a bit to keep it fair.
When I was in kindergaten I was tested for learning styles. I’ve had the benifit of knowing when I was six that my prefered learning was kinesthetis. I need to use my hands. You can tell me something ten times and I might remember it. You can show my something visual (pictures, text, numbers) twice and I will probably remember it. I can do something with my hands once and may remember it forever. Keeping my hands busy while listening helps me to 1)stay focused and not start day dreaming 2)it gives my hands something to do and 3) it gives my mind movement to conenct my audio memories to.
Every child ought to be tested young for learning styles. It can make a huge difference in knowing how to learn. Also, educators need to know that children can learn well in many different ways. Ths kid who covers his work with drawings may, in fact, actually remember more the lecture than the kid who appeared focused but was miles away. We need schools that are more about learning how to learn than about testing and exams. Especially for very young children.
I read this yesterday. I wanted to cry for the little girl. This mom has my full support in her quest to take on the system. This is so sad. No wonder so many bright kids start school and come out with no curiousity, no love of learning. There is no quicker way to teach children to hate school. How could a teacher be so awful? To five year olds? Why is she still teaching when she is so obviously un-happy?
Not wanting to teach is part of the reason I dropped out of school when I did. I had the realization that I would be really good for several years and then become that bitter old shrew who wants to do something else but isn’t sure how to get out. I didn’t want to be that teacher who turns kids off of learning.
Ironically when I went back to school I got hired to tutor math. A teacher recomended me to school. Sometimes I also helped with AutoCad and Physics. After several month they needed someone on one of the branch campusus and sent me out on my own. I helped with anything from remedial and GED classes all the way through Clac II. I like it. I worked alone which meant that I had no backup should too many students drop in and that if I should run across something I didn’t know there wasn’t any one else to check in with. It usually meant that there were at most 3 or 4 people so see me. Only once did I not know what do to. It took my 45 minutes but I managed to come up with a trigonometry proof I wasn’t sure what to do with. Often is was very quiet and I did my homework while waiting. Sometimes I still think about just working as a private tutor. But I need a reliable income, I can’t afford to do anything freelance right now. I liked working with little groups, liked being able to really help someone. The great thing about working for the college drop-in program is that I worked with all the people who couldn’t afford private help. People from all diferent walks of life and stages of education. I had students who couldn’t balance a check book and those who just needed a little boost of confidence to start on new territory. And I learned better how to illustrate concepts, how to draw a picture of an idea. It always amazed how a little sketch could explain a concept when two lectures, ten pages in the book and a worksheet couldn’t. All I really did was to find away to access they way someone needed to learn. I think that a good teacher uses lots of different senses to communicate through.
And J has woken up from her nap so I must go. We have things to do. Soil do dig. Showers to take. Grandma to visit. Groceries to buy. Take a minute to draw a picture. Feel the pen with your fingers, that paper under you palm. Let the tiny movements use your whole arms so your can feel them in your shoulder. Think about quishing things between your fingers, about the subtle movements of driving a car or playing the flute, about eating bread and butter and having crumbs and grease on your hand. Think about how the shower feels on your back and how the motion of rocking a child becomes part of you stays in your heart forver. Remember what it feels like to be small and have to “see” by poking at and shaking.