© MazioCreate 2011
Think long and hard about classes you enjoyed during your schooling. Why did these classes and / or teachers get your learning juices flowing? From my schooling years, only two teachers fit these basic criteria - a Year 7 teacher who actually explained mathematical processes by using concrete materials, and my Year 12 Economics teacher who related the theories to practical applications and current situations. In hindsight, I find it disappointing that only two out of thirty teachers from my twelve years of schooling rated using this criteria. From my experience and the completion of learning style questionnaires, I have established that I'm a multi-modal / multi-sensory learner and it has been this knowledge that has been the burr beneath my teaching saddle.
The saying "a picture paints a thousand words
" could be modified to "painting a picture develops a thousand words
". Physical involvement is a key learning style,
(another element of my Six Degrees of Contemplation™
), that underpins my delivery of learning materials for learners of all ages. We all have different methods of processing and retaining information (the latter seems to become harder with every passing year) and they generally fall into three categories - auditory, visual and kinaesthetic.
Most learners have a dominant learning style, and I believe the core to successfully assisting
learners to achieve their goals is offering a multi-modal approach in every learning situation. Before you can put this into practice, why not have your students understand their preferred learning style. Helping learners to understand how they learn best
gives them learning ammunition, that is, they can develop and implement strategies that support their learning style e.g. use art projects to create representations of the content you are learning
or apply what you are learning to hands-on models or in-practice examples (Cited: www.edutopia.com)
We've all played some form of games at one time or another. A game of cards or Triominoes over breakfast is a daily ritual for me. (Not sure if it helps with digestion but a good way to get the grey matter ticking over for the day.) Besides the entertainment or frustration element, games offer a mulitude of opportunities for learning. Over the years I've used games to develop literacy & numeracy skills and concepts. Why games? They're FUN and this medium is a non threatening method for reluctant learners and / or people with delayed learning issues to become involved in their learning.
Take reading the instructions for instance. How do people with limited literacy skills ever read instructions? They don't! Usually someone else does the reading and interpreting. From my observations people in these situations always orally learn the game rules. How to overcome this? I've used graphical cues and PowerPoints to assist when introducing a new game. Also, prior to introducing the game I would develop a glossary of terms related to the game. Students would use an online dictionary to assist with pronunciation and meanings.
Scoring is the most obvious numeracy activity but some games offer a broader numeracy experience, for example: Blokus - spatial awareness; darts - subtraction from 501 and multiplication; Triominoes - addition and subtraction; Monopoly - handling money and operations (+, -, x).
Today's adult classes are all about improving a person's literacy & numeracy to enable them to get a job. How can games help to get a job? First and foremost they assist people to develop interpersonal skills. One critera all jobs require today is - able to work in a team. Yes there may be dummy spits during games, but overall participants want to be involved and usually pick up the dummy and play on. You need strategies to play games and these may include: working from what you have (known) to improve your position (unknown); cause and effect - if you play this card or tile then your playing partners / opponents won't be able to move or play a specific card; problem solving - which card / piece / tile to use.
Let's get to it! Find a game, have FUN and learn!