The biggest thing I've learned is that there are people out there who really do think, learn, and store information in a very different way than I do. Although, to be honest, I've been doing some self-reflection lately and I realize that I do store more information in pictures than I though. People, maps to name a couple. I also find myself moving more in the VSL direction as I age. Is this a function of aging, or of the increasingly visual society that I am part of? I don't enjoy reading as much (this could be because I've read all of the good books, though) as I used to. My attention span isn't what it was. and so on. And my typing is getting worse and wlsrs. or worse or something. slepping too. I mean spelling.
The last few weeks as I teach I've come to realize how much I rely on speaking. At times I can see my class s l i p p i n g away from me. I'm not always sure what to do to get them back, but I'm working on it! Twenty-five years of teaching don't change over night! I also wonder how much of middle school students' inability to follow verbal directions is because of their visual nature. Their auditory learning ability isn't as well developed. Anyway, I'm going to keep working on this area. I play to use even more visuals, writing things down so they can see them. I already have the students get up and move around after about 30 minutes of sitting, especially when they are taking notes.
I am, of course, fortunate that my students can move around so much because I don't have a very crowded room. I also plan so that many days the students are actively doing things and after a few introductory minutes they are not sitting as much. This teaching style is almost natural for me.
Many of the other suggestions I already do, but could do more of. We have a cell rap - music for the parts of a cell - and I could have the students make their own in different content areas such as atomic makeup. I try and give the students different options on how they present their knowledge.
Some criticisms of the class and the readings
My biggest criticism is that the bulk of the thoughts we interacted with came from Dr. Silverman either directly or indirectly. This makes me wonder about its validity. Is this VSL stuff just a fringe idea, or is it one that is new enough there isn't enough work and research? Or were we not exposed to other scholars in the field?
Some of the suggestions of Dr. Silverman are over the top. VS people aren't going to bring in a utopia, merely new combinations of strengths and weaknesses, good and evil. And since people are on a continuum that describes how they learn, most people would be helped by the techniques we've studied, but it wouldn't be a revolution in society or education. Nor does the workplace require a new set of skills, it probably requires additional skills on top of the old ones.
I've enjoyed reading all the notes and discussion from my colleagues at the school where I teach. I wish I could share them all with you. I hope that if you've read all of the other entries that you found them useful and interesting. In case you haven't read them:
Education post: Visual-Spatial Learners: Identification
Education post: Visual-Spatial Learners: Gender Differences
Education Post: VSL, Reading and Writing
VSL Learners, Part 4 Handwriting difficulties
Part four: (second part)
This week we look at handwriting, spelling, and taking notes.
VSL Learners Part 5, Math!
VSL Learners: Part six Using Visual-Spatial Strengths to Learn New Material
VSL Learners: Part seven Organization!! Yikes!
VSL Learners: Part eight: Creating a visual-spatial classroom