Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc

Teacher's Aide

The Art of Creative Teaching

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.

Definitions

Teacher
Somebody who teaches, especially as a profession; or anything from which something may be learned.
Educate
Give knowledge to or develop the abilities of somebody by teaching; or to arrange schooling for somebody; or to develop or improve a faculty or sense; or to train or instruct somebody in a particular field.
Communication
The exchange of information between individuals, for example, by means of speaking, writing, or using a common system of signs or behavior; a spoken or written message; the communicating of information; a sense of mutual understanding and sympathy; or a means of access or communication, for example, a connecting door.

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.

Qualities of a Great Teacher

How would you describe a great teacher? What are the key traits?

Consider the following series of questions:

  • Can anyone become a teacher or is this position confined to a select few?
  • Is everyone a teacher?
  • Is the teacher knowledgeable in other areas and able to make associations?
  • Is teaching a personal concept or is it universal?
  • Do the learners receive what they need?

Does the teacher:

  • Understand the subject matter?
  • Need to like the subject?
  • Need to prepare for teaching the subject?
  • Use props?
  • Understand how to communicate?
  • Use a certain communication style?
  • Actively listen and address questions?
  • Have the wisdom to share the knowledge and information?
  • Give enough time for the learner to grasp the topic?
  • Interact with the learners?
  • Have attributes that stand out?
  • Reevaluate what was taught and how it was taught?

Multiple Intelligences

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):

Verbal/Linguistic
process information through many forms of the written and spoken words
Logical/Mathematical
recognize patterns, work with abstract symbols like numbers and shapes, and find connections between separate pieces of information
Visual/Spatial
form mental images and pictures
Bodily/Kinesthetic
use the body to express emotion, to play games, and invent things
Musical/Rhythmic
recognize and use rhythmic and tonal patterns and are very sensitive to sounds
Interpersonal
work cooperatively with others in a group and communicate well with others
Intrapersonal
possess a deep knowledge of the internal aspects of the self
Naturalist
distinguish among, classify and use various features of the environment
Existential
raise and reflect on philosophical questions about life, death, and ultimate realities

The Art of Creative Teaching (cont'd)

Communication Styles and Types

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).

FACTORSEXPRESSERDRIVERRELATERANALYTICAL
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, recognitionResults, 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.

References:

The CEDA Meta-Profession Project
Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
I Think.....Therefore.....MI!

About the Author

©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

Classroom Caper

Objective: Increase the learning potential of both the teacher and the learner by understanding Communication Styles and Multiple intelligences in style/type awareness.

Procedure A:

  1. Make copies of the Communication Styles Chart from GST Telecom.
  2. Distribute to the teacher and each learner.
  3. Have both the teacher and the learner check or circle what describes them the most accurately.
  4. Discuss the communication style:
    • How this work for each person?
    • What are the pros and cons of having these traits?
    • How will understanding these styles assist in working with
    • clients, classmates or other relationships?

Procedure B:

  1. Go online to SurfAquarium and make copies of the types of the Multiple Intelligences handout.
  2. Distribute to the teacher and each learner.
  3. Have both the teacher and the learner check or circle what describes them the most accurately.
  4. Discuss the communication style:
    • How this work for each person?
    • What are the pros and cons of having these traits?
    • How will understanding these styles assist in working with
    • clients, classmates or other relationships?

Variation on Procedure B:

  1. Assign the learners to take the Multiple Intelligences Inventory. Print the results and bring to class.
  2. Discuss the results of the inventory:
    • How this work for each person?
    • What are the pros and cons of having these traits?
    • How will understanding these styles assist in working with clients, classmates or other relationships?

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.

Sources:
The CEDA Meta-Profession Project
Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences
I Think.....Therefore.....MI!

Announcement

Get your online version of the Teacherís Aide! Many schools have several people who would benefit from our newsletter, but it doesn't always get passed on. We have two solutions:

  1. We post our newsletters online so you can read them any time. Starting with the Spring 2009 issue the Newsletter is available as a PDF document.
  2. Starting with the Summer 2009 issue, we will send the electronic newsletters directly to those teachers and directors for whom we have email addresses.

    If you wish to join the list, please send us a note to the Teacher's Aide mailbox.

Cherie's Workshops

September 26, 2009 - Teaching Business Ethics Can Be Fun!
AMTA National 2009 Convention, Orlando, FL

November 12, 2009 9 pm - Experiential Learning (Educator Track)
November 13, 2009 9 pm - The Keys to Target Marketing (Business Track)
World Massage Conference

Enhance Communication Skills

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.