Involve me…

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

The other day I watched as my son excitedly jumped into a rocky section of the Yarra River on the outskirts of Melbourne. He rolled up his pants and waded in. He had a mission, there was a rocky outcrop nearby that he wanted to get to. The river was fast flowing and deep in parts. I knew he’d make it.

I have seen my son’s amazing sense of space and his body control over his eight year life. He knew the 10 or so km journey to his grandparents house by age 4. He shows me on google maps where his school is and takes me via the streets to nearby places he’s found. The kid has some real talents that aren’t specifically taught in the classroom – but the classroom, and his real life experiences, support and encourage these talents.

So the question for me, as a parent, as a communicator and educator is – how can we support and enhance this learning to ensure every kid feels that awesome feeling of discovery and accomplishment?

It’s really about making learning accessible to everyone, no matter what their strengths.

And the research backs it up: Providing students with multiple ways to access content improves learning (Hattie, 2011).

Dr Howard Gardner, responsible for the development of the multiple intelligences theory recently told the Washington Post:

Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well.

So that’s why the Lore Makers is here. My business partner, a teacher, and I have taken our interest in cultural heritage, which provides great context for who we are and helps us understand each other, with a plan to create learning experiences that access and support all of our intelligences.

As we start this exciting journey, we’d love to have you come along on the journey with us. You can sign up to our enews and we’ll send you some info on how you can create memories. Or first events kick off in February (so if you’re feeling inclined, you can like our facebook page to keep in the loop).

Oh, and my son did make it to the outcrop, and can back again through the river a different way he’d plotted out. With slightly wet pants and a confident smile that he’d done just as he’d planned and had a great story to tell.

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Yes, everyone loves using all their senses

Again, the past few weeks have been full, and challenging. I have been thinking a lot about the brain and how it works. We know now that brain is capable of creating new pathways, and a whole range of things science hadn’t caught up with yet. How much our knowledge has grown over the past decade is astounding. And I am so grateful. My son is ambidextrous I have discovered, and I know have a much better understanding of how this is going to be a challenge, but also, pretty awesome.

Right handed people have a dominant left hemisphere of their brain. The ambidextrous have more symmetrical brains. This explains the amazing 3d thinking, engineering skills and problem solving I see.

They also have a strong preference for tactile learning.

There are essentially 3 learning styles. Visual learning like looking at pictures, Auditory learners want things explained and tactile/kinesthetic learners need to be doing to learn.

While we all have a preferred learning style, using all approaches ensures everyone is learning at their best.

Studies are now looking at how we learn best. As the world we live gives us a range of input – sight, sound, smell, taste. It follows that our brain needs this range of input to work at its best. A Shams and Seitz study says:

It is likely that the human brain has evolved to develop, learn and operate optimally in multisensory environments. We suggest that training protocols that employ unisensory stimulus regimes do not engage multisensory learning mechanisms and, therefore, might not be optimal for learning. However, multisensory-training protocols can better approximate natural settings and are more effective for learning

 

Basically, we need to touch, feel, see, hear, play and fully experience something to really learn about it. It’s an exciting prospect.

How can we create better learning environments for adults and children, that work through all the senses and have a real impact?

It’s why field trips, museums, walks and ‘outside the box’ learning activities work so well.

I am currently working on an interactive installation that uses movement, sight and touch. A “project’s” page is coming soon!!

Knowledge is a privilege

Last week, I farewelled my grandmother, the last of my grandparents. She was 79 and had been ill for some time. We got to share a special last hour or so together before she passed. It was super special and I’ll be eternally grateful to have those moments.

With the passing of that generation, so too passes a lot of the knowledge accumulated over a lifetime. There are so many things I wished I’d known when I was younger, and I am guessing that feeling will continue as I keep discovering more about myself and the world around me. Perhaps that is the point of life and we can’t skip quickly through it, but need to build up our knowledge with experiences and information acquired over time. I am determined to pass on as much information as I can in my lifetime through my work (marketing and community for behaviour change and the promotion of culture) and life.

My grandmother grew up poor. She was one of 12 children. The three youngest girls (including herself) had one ‘going out dress’ between them which they would take in turns to wear. Books were a luxury well beyond her means. Even going to school was a luxury and she left after primary school so she could work and help the family pay the bills.

Fortunately, she worked hard, and her life is not at all familiar to me. Not only did I finish high school, I worked part time so I could buy myself new books and the latest CDs. I bought myself a car as soon as I could so I could explore the world, see new places and learn new things. I went on to further education and current have 2 postgraduate qualifications.

Grief gives you time to reflect, be thankful for everything someone else was in your life and make sure their stories continue to live inside you and your descendents.

As someone who has loved learning, books and the opportunity to share my knowledge with others, I am launching an online bookstore today. I am keeping an eye out for all the best, most fascinating and most helpful pieces of information I can find and will keep adding a curated list of top finds here.

 Remember it’s still my birthday sale (ends 4 April) so make sure you enter BIRTHDAY on my products for 20% off.

Thanks for reading and give someone you love a hug today, it’s so important.

Books that Cultivate can be found here: https://cultivatingplace.wordpress.com/books-that-cultivate/