In our school’s desire to fulfill our philosophy and core values, we felt the Lord directing us to approach Cynthia Tobias, a well known expert in the area of learning styles. After speaking with Cynthia we became excited about the possibilities for our school to act upon our belief that each child is created by God in His image, uniquely and special!
We began our “Learning Styles Academy” in 2007 by enrolling every one of our teachers in Cynthia’s on-line course. Each teacher was required to complete a certain number of modules and take a series of evaluations on what they learned. This exercise helped prepare all of us for Mrs. Tobias’ three-day seminar that was taught during our in-service week just before school started in September. Through the summer course and three-day seminar our faculty and administration were exposed to the various ways in which children learn and teachers teach. We looked at global learners as opposed to analytical learners and visual, auditory and kinesthetic styles of learning.
Going into our new school year this course of study prepared our faculty to implement teaching strategies that would accommodate their student’s learning styles. In addition to the course work, each teacher was required to develop a strategic plan for responding to the individual learning styles of their students. Mrs. Tobias met with our school parents and our middle school students for an evening workshop on how parents can learn about and support the individual ways that their children learn, and how they can accommodate these specific learning styles. Our middle school students also took a survey which helped them to indentify the best ways in which they naturally learn.
Following up, the school also organized two evening workshops on the subject of learning styles. Parents participated in an on-line presentation by Mrs. Tobias and had the opportunity to ask questions. In addition to follow-up work with parents, our middle school students met twice in a workshop setting to help them identify their learning style and to assist them in developing their own strategies for maximizing their particular way of learning.
The response to the school’s effort to meet the individual needs of students has been overwhelming! Our students feel more confident in their academic work and our parents feel better equipped to assist them. It is the school’s intention to continue to build on what has already been accomplished.
Luke’s Gospel describes a time when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. In spite of the crowd and the condescending response of the religious leaders that were present, Jesus stopped his teaching as soon as He noticed a crippled women who the Scriptures describe as being “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.” The Scriptures also describe Jesus’ response to the woman, “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘woman you are set free from your infirmity.’”
Although the specific circumstances are not exactly like a classroom situation, the point is that in spite of His teaching and in spite of the crowd, He noticed someone in need and addressed the need. Herein lies the purpose of our Learning Styles Academy. Although a child may be in a class with other students, the teacher needs to be sensitive and respond to each child’s individual needs