Thursday, March 29, 2007

Speaking the Same Language

See if you understand any of these sentences:

Ceci ne se comprend pas probablement. (French)
Dieses vermutlich ist nicht sinnvoll. (German)
Ciò probabilmente non ha il significato. (Italian)
هذا ربما لا معنى لها (Arabic)
Isto provavelmente não faz o sentido. (Portuguese)
Esto no tiene probablemente sentido. (Spanish)
This probably doesn't make sense. (English)

Have you ever been in a class and wondered what planet the teacher stepped off of? Or maybe you have been in classes that bored you out of your mind even though the topic you were studying should have been extremelyl interesting. It has been clearly demonstrated that there are a variety of learning styles. The classes and teachers people like best are those that speak their language/use their learning style. Most people do not learn best from lecture. The majority of Bible classes have been taught that way and that means that many people are not learning as effectively as they could. They have been left in classes that resemble the Peanuts kids listening to their teacher drone on with unintelligible nonsense.

Some people are just fine to sit and take notes. They like to contemplate the information, mull it over for a while, and figure out what they think independent of anyone else. They would be perfectly fine receiving all the rest of their Bible lessons on tape in a room by themselves. If you are this type of learning you probably think the Bible classes at church are running just fine and don't need tweaked because you are getting what you like across the board in many churches.

Others prefer interaction. They don't want to listen to one person for an hour. They want to bounce questions around the room. They want to help answer another person's questions and have dialogue rather than monologue. This would involve a Bible discussion where the teacher is prepared with a variety of questions to illicit responses and dialogue within the class. The teacher does not come to class with enough information to make it a full hour. The class is going to provide some of the information, maybe even most of the information.

A third type of learner are those who are hands on (Bodily Kinesthitic). They would like to make unleavened bread and taste it. They would like to march around the church building as if it were the city of Jericho. They would like to stand at the mountain or walk through the wilderness together. They would like to hear the sermons of the Bible read out loud to a group of listeners rather than read them silently. They remember experience.

A fourth type of learner are those who learn best visually. They enjoy a good powerpoint or series of pictures showing the places the events actually took place. They prefer sitting in a circle rather than in rows so that they can see others while discussing.

That leads us to the next point. Learning is more than about the medium. It is also about how we use space. Learning is not always best done sitting in rows. Rows can really hinder discussion. Sitting in a circle can facilitate discussion better than rows. Height can also make a difference. If the teacher is sitting up on a stool and everyone else is down beneath that can be a problem if the goal of the class is for the teacher to only facilitate the discussion.

We want what we teach to be memorable. If you only teach to one learning style all the time you are teaching many things that will not be memorable to a good portion of your class. That means that as teachers we will need to use some variety from time to time in order to reach as many people as possible. That means work. That means investment and often we just don't have time to try something different. It is a real committment but try it out and see what you can do to help people who are hungry to know God get to know Him better.

Learning Style Link Removed - I will post more on how to assessing learning styles later.

5 comments:

Bob Bliss said...

Do you make any money off this? My scores:

tactile 20
Visual 25
Auditory 29

Does this make me fairly balanced? I hate being balanced. That is so normal. I want to be abnormal. Oh well.

James Wood said...

Thanks for the post, good thoughts.

In the future would you warn me if the link will ask me for my information or try to sell me something (or both). It's frustrating to go through a test only to have my results held hostage at the end.

I guess that makes my learning style - stubborn, since I refuse to bow to their demands.

Again, thanks for the thoughts. I enjoy thinking and reading about the best ways to communicate.

preacherman said...

Matt,
Great point.
You look at the greatest teacher in the world Jesus Christ.
He used all the learning styles to make a point. I believe as minister we should learn or strive to learn His style.
Great post.

Matt said...

Preacherman,

That is a great point about Jesus. When you really listen to what he is saying and how it must have been to be there it is pretty incredible. For instance in the parable of the sower the same word for soil in the parable is used for the shore the people are standing on. Jesus is sowing to them as he teaches. He is certainly our model.

Matt said...

James and Bob,

Sorry about the ad stuff. I removed the link to keep anyone from getting taken off guard. And no, I don't get a dime! Although, for $50 I will tell you what your learning style is. Just kidding.

Religion Blogs - Blog Top Sites Christian Blog Topsites