Published on 2012/03/08

Keep Your Creativity Alive As An Educator/Teacher/Trainer

One of the biggest challenges to audience/student engagement we face right now is diversity. We teach a diverse group of students that involve different age levels, cultures and backgrounds—as well as the unique way each student processes information.

The most important thing to keep in mind, when trying to be engaging with your audience in an educational setting, is to stop at stop signs, yield at yield signs and keep you eye out for curves in the road. Am I talking about a classroom? or a road trip?  Well, teaching is comparable to taking a road trip. If you want your students to arrive at the right destination you need to keep them on track, be alert and lead the way.

One thing I did to better engage my audience was for me to stop, look and listen. When I did this, and kept in mind the individuality of each student, and my goal of not wanting to leave any behind, this is what I learned.

I was teaching American Sign Language at college level for seven years and I ran into this great diversity in my classroom. I was perplexed at what to do. So I took some time to study each one of them. I found that knowing the individual’s learning style helped me. For example right brain learners picked up signs by repetition of watching and copying me, where left brain learners needed to learn hand shapes, palm orientation, location and movement step by step.

When I explained that there are differences in the way we each learn and process information and that we should not compare ourselves to others this helped my students to be more patient with themselves and focus on the method that worked best for them. I created various ways of practicing signs by using flash cards, group practice and I promoted a help each-other environment. And it worked.

In any educational endeavor we need to find creative ways to get our students to our destination. Also understanding how each student’s brain works and how each student processes information is the key to growth and leads to the freedom to learn.

And we never stop learning—do we?

Side Notes: Sign Language is a visual language that requires tapping into the right brain. Left brain learners are more analytical in their thought processing, so details are helpful to them.

Understanding how we individually process information from a dominant right or left brain perspective and learning how to shift back and forth in our processing information can be liberating for us as learners.

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Readers Comments

Tyrese Banner 2012/03/11 at 10:32 am

How do you determine whether learners are left or right brained? Do you usually run a learning styles test at the start of the class?

    Janie Lancaster 2012/03/17 at 2:56 am

    Tyrese, that is a good question. I guess in sign language it becomes apparent in a short period of time by the way they pick up the language. When you spend some time to learn the right and left brain functions in time you will be able to identify your individual student’s dominant method of learning.

    Example:

    Right brain: Emotional mind based on patterns, designs and complex images sees things as a whole

    Left brain: Reasoning mind based on logic and organization, interested in details

    I hope this helps a bit.

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