by Laurel J. Freeman, B.A., LMT
In the past the majority of individuals stayed in their chosen field until they retired. Today, the trend is for multiple career changes throughout one's lifetime. Consequently, teachers now have an influx of diverse learners who come from a variety of age groups, professional experiences, and cultural backgrounds. Such diversity creates challenges for the teacher to be effective. The key is communication.
By understanding communication styles and learning types, a teacher enhances the learner's educational experience. A creative teacher educates the learner in these communication skills. Then the learner has the opportunity to apply this knowledge, giving the learner an advantage in everyday interactions with others. Teaching these communication skills may be the most valuable lesson a teacher offers.
Defining the words teacher, educate and communication leads a quest to understand how this actually happens. One thought is to educate a learner on either a technique or a concept. A great teacher is someone who has the ability to communicate both the technique and the concept at the same time.
How would you describe a great teacher? What are the key traits?
Consider the following series of questions:
Does the teacher:
Years ago, teachers believed there was a limited number of ways to educate. Now, it is well known that individuals learn in a variety of ways and this is called Multiple Intelligences (MI). LdPride.net has a lot of information on this topic and states, "knowing your learning style will help you develop coping strategies to compensate for your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths."
Here is a quick summary of the nine intelligences (refer to the Summer 1998 Teacher's Aide Newsletter):
Just as there are styles and types for learning, there are styles for communicating. In the corporate world, the companies that are the most successful utilize the skills and styles of all their employees; honoring a person's leadership abilities gives a company the opportunity to be very successful. The same holds true for a learning environment. There are many avenues that define a person's communication styles. The following personality types chart was developed by GST Telecom (formally Call America).
|How to Recognize:||They get excited.||They like their own way; decisive & strong viewpoints.||They like positive attention, to be helpful & to be regarded warmly.||They seek a lot of data, ask many questions, behave methodically & systematically.|
|Tends to Ask:||Who? (The personal dominant question.)||What? (The results oriented question.)||Why? (The personal non-goal question.)||How? (The technical analytical question.)|
|What They Dislike:||Boring explanations; wasting time with too many facts.||Someone wasting their time trying to decide for them.||Rejection, treated impersonally, uncaring & unfeeling attitudes.||Making an error, being unprepared, & spontaneity|
|Reacts to Pressure and Tension By:||"Selling" their ideas or argumentative.||Taking charge; taking more control.||Becoming silent, withdraws, introspective.||Seeking more data & information.|
|Best Way to Handle:||Get excited with them. Show emotion.||Let them be in charge.||Be supportive; show you care.||Provide lots of data & information.|
|Likes To Be Measured By:||Applause, feedback, recognition||Results, Goal-oriented.||Friends, close relationships.||Activity & busyness that leads to results.|
|Must Be Allowed To:||Get ahead quickly. Likes challenges.||Get into a competitive situation. Likes to win.||Relax, feel, care, know you care.||Make decisions at own pace, not cornered or pressured.|
|Will Improve With:||Recognition & some structure with which to reach the goal.||A position that requires cooperation with others.||A structure of goals & methods for achieving each goal.||Interpersonal and communication skills.|
|Likes to Save:||Effort. They rely heavily on hunches, intuition, feelings.||Time. They like to be efficient, get things done now.||Relationships. Friendship means a lot to them.||Face. They hate to make an error, be wrong or get caught without enough info.|
|For Best Results:||Inspire them to bigger & better accomplishments.||Allow them freedom to do things their own way.||Care & provide detail, specific plans & activities to be accomplished.||Structure a framework or "track" to follow.|
©2009 Laurel J. Freeman MA7670/MM3449. Laurel is a licensed massage therapist living in Gainesville, Florida and has been practicing massage since 1987. Laurel has lectured, written many articles and authored a book, Pathways on a Journey. Laurel is a National amta Past President. In 1993, she created Reconnecting Neuromuscular Responses ™ a massage technique and has been enjoying teaching ever since. Contact her at Reconnecting Neuromuscular Responses
Objective: Increase the learning potential of both the teacher and the learner by understanding Communication Styles and Multiple intelligences in style/type awareness.
Variation on Procedure B:
Approximate Time: 60 minutes per Procedure. Teacher may decide to divide the class into smaller groups for further discussion.
Materials Required: Copies of Charts, pencils and pens.
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The art of a creative teacher is one who has the ability to educate learners by combining the use of Multiple Intelligences and Communication Styles. The foundation is laid by developing curriculum (lesson plans and activities) that addresses these styles and types. The next step is to encourage further exploration of these communication skills throughout the school term.
Actively Listen: Speakers usually reveal how they learn, take in information and retrieve what they have learned. Make it a conscious game for learners to pay attention in your classroom. Review the nine Multiple Intelligences and the four Communication Styles (with the 10 behaviors each). Give learners cues for what to listen for in regards to the types and styles. Consider making posters of this information so it can easily be referenced throughout the year.
Read More Information: Understanding the importance of these communication styles may require additional reading. There is plenty of information available on the Internet. Encourage learners to explore this topic.
Role-Play: Do role-plays after the learners have a better understanding of how to communicate and have identified their individual learning and communication styles/types. Have the learners become the client/practitioner or the consumer/business person. In one application have the learners stay in what they know, using their preferred MI and Communication Styles. Another role-play is to have the learners take on another style and/or type (this gives the learners an opportunity to experience what it is like to be out of context).
Evaluate: As each of us are learners, it is important to receive feedback. Ask your learners and colleagues how something could have been taught in another way for additional learning to take place.