Academics vs. attitude

Even required subjects can be made interesting if the teacher knows how to teach to students’ different learning styles.

by Mary M. Ernsberger — 

Have you noticed the negative energy that seems to surround the youth of our nation? Have you ever wondered why our children and teens are so angry? Does their attitude affect their academic progress?

The answer to all three of these questions is “Yes.” These young people chose to incarnate during a time of great change on this planet.

Problems arise when our country’s educational system continues to teach these new kids the way kids were taught 20 years ago. No longer will they “be seen and not heard.” Back in the day — as the youth of today say — kids did what their teachers told them to do, no questions asked. Not any more. Today’s kids want to be involved in their education. They want to learn subjects they are interested in, subjects that apply to their futures.

Even required subjects can be made interesting if the teacher knows how to teach to students’ different learning styles. The ability to memorize rote facts and regurgitate this information on state tests applies to only one of eight learning styles. You do the math: if the class has 32 students and only one of eight learns via the method the teacher is using, how many kids are “left behind?”

Is your child in the minority or the majority? Are you familiar with the eight learning styles? They are as follows:

Verbal/linguistic, or “The Word Player” — This learning style is related to words and language, both written and spoken. It also dominates most educational systems in the United States.

Logical/mathematical, or “The Questioner” — Often called “scientific thinking,” this learning style is related to inductive and deductive thinking, reasoning, numbers and the recognition of abstract patterns.

Visual/spatial, or “The Visualizer” — This learning style relies on the sense of sight and the ability to visualize an object, including creating internal mental images/pictures. People who enjoy mediation and guided imagery or hypnosis are commonly very visual or spatial learners.

Intrapersonal, or “The Individual” — This learning style relates to inner states of being, self-reflection, metacognition (i.e. thinking about thinking) and awareness of spiritual realities.

Interpersonal, or “The Socializer” — This learning style operates primarily through person-to-person relationships and communication.

Bodily/kinesthetic, or “The Mover” — This learning style is related to physical movement and the knowing/wisdom of the body, including the brain’s motor cortex, which controls bodily motion.

Musical/rhythmic, or “The Music Lover” — This learning style is based on the recognition of tonal patterns, including various environmental sounds, and on sensitivity to rhythm and beats.

Naturalistic, or “The Outdoorsman” — This learning style is based on the sensing of patterns in and making connections to elements in nature.

Which of these learning styles fits you? Which one fits your child? How much happier would your home be if you knew what you have in common with your child and, more importantly, what your differences are?

So where do our kids’ attitudes come from? Think about this. What if no matter how hard you tried, you just could not understand what you were being taught? How long would you keep trying?

As an adult in the workplace, how many jobs have you had over the course of your lifetime that just did not fit you? How long did you stick around before you quit or were fired?

Young people in elementary and junior high cannot quit. The law requires them to attend school until they are 16 years old. And no matter how much some teachers would like to, they cannot fire their students.

So what is the answer? Why don’t we take all these kids that do not fit and force them into the “box?” Oh wait — we’re already doing that. We have labeled these young people as “disabled.” Society has created disorders that make drugging our youth legal. More than 4 million school-age children are being given mind-altering drugs today.

At what point do we say “enough!”? These young people deserve better. They deserve to express their individuality, creativity and intelligence in their own way. They need to be taught positive outlets for self-expression. They need to know they are not disabled.

Start by determining which learning style best describes how you learn, and go tell your boss. Then find out how your child learns, and how subjects are being taught in your child’s school. Share your findings with other family members, friends, neighbors and/or parents of your child’s friends. As a group, attend a PTA or PTO meeting. If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive, do not be afraid to go to the school’s administration, and even the school board if necessary.

Young people learn by example. What type of example are you setting for the leaders of tomorrow?


Mary M. Ernsberger is a mind-body psychology therapist, certified hypnotherapist and life coach for children and families. She is the author of Recognizing the Greatness in Each Child, and specializes in working with children and families of those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or other behavioral disorders. or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Web Analytics