Updated: Mar 1, 2021
This past week a co-teacher and I attended a wonderful seminar given by Summit Professional Education and taught by Lori Benson Adams, M ED. I have to say this was the single most informative and educational seminar I have ever been too. I typed 7 single spaced pages of notes in the first 2 hours!!!! Besides Mrs. Adams being amazing, the information we gleamed from her expertise will now impact various parts of my classroom and teaching. If you ever have a chance to attend one of her seminars I would highly recommend it! This blog post by no means has all of the information we learned but I feel these 5 tips could make serious beneficial changes for our Right Brained Visual Spatial learners.
(1) Always use a picture schedule, all the way through elementary school, even into middle school if necessary for the child.
(2) Add pictures with color to every lesson, as school progresses it becomes much more auditory in nature and needs to have a balance for our right brained thinkers.
(3) Classroom must be welcoming, loving and inviting from their point of view, not ours, these children are very sensitive to tone and emotion.
(4) Give think time when asking questions and assigning tasks, auditory processing in these kiddos takes longer than left brained thinkers their same age.
(5) Provide organizational strategies and color coded systems to help organize the thoughts in the brain, help them stay on task with reminders or a gentle hand on the shoulder.
I want to share a personal story with you now to help you understand the trauma that can occur for right brained thinkers when teachers are not sensitive to their unique needs. See I happen to be a right brained thinker: disorganized, low mental energy, ADD, highly sensitive, sensory integration disorder(self diagnosed as an adult since they didn't know what that was when I was growing up)and odd with no friends. It was my first year of middle school (6th grade) and I was totally lost. Homework never made it to class, locker a mess, couldn't copy from the board. You name it and it was against me. I was not yet diagnosed with ADD and was not on any medication. My middle school was large and I was lost in the mix. Now to the meat of the story: My English teacher had something against me, maybe I wasn't perfect enough for her, I don't know, but she picked on me quite often. The single most humiliating thing in my life happened in her classroom that year. One day we were having an open book test and I had forgotten my book, I was not allowed to go to my locker or given an extra book to use. As you can imagine I failed that test, getting a 25 probably just for putting my name on the top. Well, my teacher decided to make an example out of me. Once she had graded all of the tests and given them back to everyone she called me up to the front of the room. She held up my test, announced that I had received a 25, that I was going to fail the semester and that others needed not to be like me. Ya, like I said humiliating!
I think the single most important thing we can do for our kids, all of them, is to understand each of them is different. They look different, act different, learn differently, have different personalities and are all impressionable CHILDREN! I cannot express how much damage this teacher did to me, the thought of this incident still makes me loose my appetite. So please celebrate the differences, be patient and love the children.
Till next time, Christine
(crying for myself and others like me)