I was drafting out this post yesterday, but Stephanie at Throwing Marshmallows said it so much better: Putting Kids in a Box
“….. learning about the v-s learning style has drastically opened my view about how kids learn…it has expanded my options and has given me a new way of approaching learning with Jason. So in this way, finding a “label” has helped me break out of the traditional box.”
Me, too. And I think this can be helpful even if you have a left-brained or mixed-brain thinker (more below).
This is the post I was drafting yesterday:
I don’t have much time to blog today but wanted to quickly mention that I am still reading about Visual Spatial Learning. There is so much new to absorb! While reading this article called A Global View of Strategies for Visual Spatial Learners (it is a PDF) I found this quote:
“The role that ineffective communication between the brain’s hemispheres plays in education has been known for a long time (e.g. “Overcoming Dyslexia” by Dr Beve Hornsby, 1984). Some children do not change naturally from one side of the brain to the other and some flitter between the two. Other children function as though there is a blockage to certain areas of the brain or as if the messages get “confused”. ….
Fortunately, the neurological network in children’s brains is very plastic. …. This means that children can be taught either to use other pathways to access the function or to use strategies that implement or build a more efficient (or faster) pathway than the ones they have developed. The neurological evidence shows that different parts of the brain can take over control of functions (both physical and cognitive) when damage occurs…..
…Gifted children develop their own strategies to “get around” problems, thereby making it difficult to make them fit any typical list of characteristics that identify a child with learning problems. Often they don’t even know they learn differently to other children”
Another article made a similar point — that some people have a preference for right brained learning, but can easily cross from one type of thinking to another. Others seem to have difficulty doing this crossing-over and those are the kids that often get diagnosed with a learning disability.
This seems to be corroboration for Steph’s insight which I mentioned in another post, that some learning disabilities are a matter of communication as much as anything else. Integration is another word that was used…. some children have troubles with integrating their function. Aidan is one of those. The article which I quoted above gives some strategies for working with visual-spatial learners and also makes the point that left-brained “auditory-sequential” learners can benefit by harnessing their visual-spatial powers -- because of course, no one is wholly one or the other.
This aspect of it is fascinating to me because , well, because it seems to add to my toolbox of ways of working with my kids. The article goes on to mention some strategies of encouraging communication from right-hemisphere to left, and also vice versa.
So to me, this is a valuable point: that visual-spatial learning isn’t a deficit, but a gift. For several reasons: one is that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That is, when I can visualize something it encapsulates a whole landscape of knowledge. That may be why VS learners see the “big picture” (literally), why they can make intuitive leaps, and why they can often do the “hard stuff” before they can do the basics. They see a whole landscape, a tapestry, not just a progression from one step to another.
Of course, you want a VSL to be able to communicate this perceptiveness and order it, so he may need some strategies to cross over to his left hemisphere. But auditory-sequential learners, the article points out, can benefit from some crossing over to the other hemisphere — they can learn to access a more holistic, perceptive way of acquiring knowledge.
So what I get out of what I’m reading, which relates to what Steph and Stephanie are saying (and from what Cindy says on her Homeschooling Creatively list), is that: You don’t have to put a label on a kid in order to benefit from this information. It gives you ways to work with your kids that are “outside the school box” and may be helpful to ANY child.
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