Thursday, December 12, 2013

SLLO In Action: How Do Your Students Learn?

If you’re like me, you approach advising or supervising or navigating the freeway in the way that makes the most sense…to you.  I LOVE to learn and for a long time I was THAT kid in school (let’s be honest, I sort of still am) because I assumed that everyone liked learning as much as I did.  The realization that this wasn't the case sent me into a bit of a developmental tailspin…but I digress.

When choosing activities to facilitate with my students, I strive to be very intentional in selecting resources that push me beyond my comfort zone of learning and facilitating.  I’m very much a “give me a worksheet, let me think about it and write down my answers, then discuss with a neighbor or as a group” kind of learner.  But, personal news flash, that’s not how everyone prefers to approach every activity.  Some people enjoy those activities where you have to draw something (mine invariably ends up as a page covered in words).  Others enjoy building things.  Some people actually even LIKE IT when you’re forced to act out a scene ** introvert shudder**.

A very informative activity, and one that I've had lots of positive feedback from my students after conducting, is the VAK Assessment.  This is a learning style test that the students take, and then you can process with them as a group to learn more about themselves and each other: how they prefer to give and receive information, and the best ways to keep them engaged in meetings.  There’s a free, online tool that I routinely use that can be found at:

But if you don’t like this one, just google VAK Assessment and you’ll see that there are tons to choose from.

This past year, 6 of my 8 executive officers were Kinesthetic learners.  At the start, my highly Visual/Auditory self was a bit terrified at the prospect of keeping the team engaged and focused through their planning meetings.  But with the benefit of advanced knowledge and a summer of strategic activity planning with the Director, it ended up being one of the best years yet!

- Sarah Edwards

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