Blog

Learning That Works: Lesson from a Gardener

A few years ago I attended a presentation about gardening. The speaker said something that stuck in my head:

Roses

If a plant becomes diseased or is infested with pests, your first question should NOT be, what kind of pesticide should I use? Your first question should be, is this environment appropriate for this plant?

Wow – that is so simple and yet so profound!

Immediately, my thoughts went to education. What happens when a student is struggling in school? Normally, the first questions that are asked have to do with getting the student to fit in. Unfortunately, that often means, what medication should we use?

Instead, the first question ought to be, is this environment appropriate for this student? And if it’s not appropriate, should the student then be forced to adapt by using medication?

Every person, every child learns in different ways. We need to begin acknowledging and honoring each student’s strengths and focus on those. In order to be successful in sports, coaches capitalize on a star player’s strengths. What they DON’T do is force that player to spend hundreds of hours trying to build up a weakness.

Traditional education, whether at a school or at home, typically focuses on a student’s weaknesses.

The secret lies in focusing on strengths – then watch the magic happen.

If you know a student who is struggling with school, I hope you will make this your first question: Is this program appropriate for this student?

 
And, if it isn’t, search for an alternative that will bring success to that child.
 

copyright 2019 by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC / LearningSuccess™ Institute
contact Mariaemma: m@learningsuccesscoach.com
reflectiveed.com, aselfportraitonline.com, solimaracademy.com

Pledge for Learning Success

In our classes and workshops we hand out our Pledges for Learning Success. There is one for Parents, one for Teachers, one for Students, plus a personal pledge for creating life success. Here they are:Pledge Parent 2 short versionPledge TeacherPledge StudentPledge Adult

copyright 2019 by MPelullo-Willis & VKHodson, Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC / LearningSuccess™ Institute
contact Mariaemma: m@learningsuccesscoach.com
reflectiveed.com, aselfportraitonline.com, solimaracademy.com

 

Gratitude – A Time to Reflect

This time of year is a great time to reflect on all the things we are grateful for. A great family activity is to have everyone make lists of the qualities they love about each member of the family. Each person can have the option of writing down the lists (using paper, file cards, journal, or other creative format), or recording themselves (audio or video), or drawing or using cut out pictures or stickers (making posters, scrapbooks, paintings). These also make great gifts!

In fact, in place of one “regular” gift, how about reflecting on each of your children and making a colorful card for each of them that says:

  • What delights you about this particular child
  • What this child brings to the family that is uniqueKids
  • What it is about this child that you are most grateful for
  • What it is about this child that fascinates you the most
  • What it is about this child that you miss when you’re not with him/her

Our guess is that this simple gift will be the one that they will remember for years to come.

We believe that a parent is the number one Coach in a child’s life. Our C.A.R.E.S. principles begin with “C”—Celebrate your child! We hope that you celebrate your child often—each day of each year. This time of year can be a good reminder to stop, relax, and take a moment to really celebrate your child.

copyright 2019 by M. Pelullo-Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson, Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC / LearningSuccess™ Institute

Relieving Homework Stress

scribblingMost kids dislike homework. They’ve been in school all day and now they are home and have to do more of the same. If it was up to us there would be little to no homework. However, since many students still get homework, here are a few learning style tips that could help relieve some of the stress.

Tactile-Kinesthetic Learners
Hands-On and Whole Body Learners need to move. They’ve already been sitting too long in school, and more sitting to do homework can literally be torture for them. Tips:

1. Teach them to take movement breaks
Set a timer for every 15 to 30 minutes (depending on age) – student works for that period then takes a break for 5 or 10 minutes: walks around the room, jumps rope, runs around outside, etc.

2. Exercise ball
Experiment with student sitting on an exercise ball – the slight, ongoing movement of the ball might be enough for the student to focus for longer periods.

3. Build movement into the work itself
For example, if a student has facts to memorize, try bouncing a ball in rhythm, or jumping rope, or bouncing on trampoline while rehearsing the information. Or, student can record the information to be memorized and then walk or jog while listening to the recording.

4. Stress balls
Encourage student to use stress balls or other squeeze toys while working.

5. Doodling
If student is a doodler encourage doodling or drawing things out while studying or solving a problem.

Picture Learners
Picture Learners need to see. Even if they can read well, print might not be their best Modality, and they might need visuals to increase comprehension and memory of what they are studying. Tips:

1. Teach them to find visuals and make use of them
Whatever topic a student is studying, chances are there is visual information available on the internet – pictures, charts, maps, as well as videos.

2. Doodling
If student is a doodler encourage doodling or drawing things out while studying or solving a problem.

Listening or Verbal Learners
Listening Learners need to hear the information spoken. Verbal Learners need to hear the sound of their own voices. Even if they can read well, print might not be their best Modality, and they might need audio to increase comprehension and memory of what they are studying. Tips:

1. Audiobooks
Whenever possible, provide audio versions of books and texts.

2. Hearing their own voices
Encourage students to read aloud, or record themselves reading the material to be studied and listening to it later.

3. Discussion
Provide opportunities for one-to-one or small group discussion, if possible.
copyright 2019 by M. Pelullo-Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson, Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC / LearningSuccess™ Institute