LQ and the Learner
I started this discussion by reflecting on what I referred to as a “toxic” learning environment, one where you are prohibited from meeting your learning needs and unable to exercise LQ. In short the learner is “excluded” from the learning taking place. What if you are that learner, what do you do?
First we must recognise that in such circumstances the learner may not be meeting some or all of the four essential needs I mentioned earlier. We can equate these four (Fun, Freedom, Belonging and Power) as those associated with engagement and motivation. I believe there is a hierarchy to these needs and the type of behaviour a learner may exhibit within the learning environment is very much influenced by which one or combination of these four is being met. These behaviours can mask true learning needs if we are not aware of LQ.
Let us consider meeting our need of belonging and a situation where a learner may not be having their learning needs met and they are unable to apply their LQ in order to meet them. In such situations I suggest the learner may still remain outwardly engaged in the learning, they are compliant and will appear to be attempting to learn or complete the tasks. My experience is that they will not challenge the teacher and will adjust their learning map to accommodate their progress and success. The problem comes when the teacher adjusts their perception of the learner to account for the progress and success. We are now actively engaged in an unspoken and limiting contract.
LQ brings a different focus when viewing prior performance.
It is easy to see the above as an example of how some students may not do very well in a learning situation but this is a relative measure. As teachers we may not be tapping into true potential because we have accepted the limited performance we have experienced or observed so far. LQ brings another focus to this situation because it works outside of the potential/performance equation.
If there is no sense of belonging and the learner is excluded from learning then we may experience a different behaviour, that of challenging the teacher. These challenges may take a number of forms but I suggest underlying them is the aim of the learner to meet some of their basic needs. Normally this is fun but it can also be power (the need to be heard) and to have freedom (choices) within the learning environment. I suggest that the student migrates towards trying to meet these needs because they are so basic and instinctive. I would also suggest that if a learner had awareness and understanding of LQ and the tools and strategies to do something about meeting their learning needs then a different response could result. The response may not be any less challenging to the teaching situation but at least it is aimed at progressing the learning and not merely challenging what is often seen as authority (that which is preventing them from meeting their basic needs).
We need to consider what challenges the learner can offer when their learning needs are not being met. We need to find ways of responding which builds the learners understanding of LQ and develops the tools they need to manage their own learning environment. Facilitating this process is a key element in any education system.
Challenging myths about learning.
I leave you with a link to Barbara Prashnig’s 10 false beliefs about learning. This article has much to commend it as it challenges some of our myths about learning and particularly the learning environment. Remember that earlier I talked of the dangers of creating our own learning environment and expecting others to learn within it as we do. As you read it consider how as a teacher you would respond to the challenges of creating a learning environment to meet diverse needs and how much easier it could be if the learner was able to manage the learning environment to meet their own needs. Think also of how you would respond to the challenges when a learner adopts a strategy you were not expecting or which challenges your beliefs about learning.
LQ so far.
This is the fifth article discussing LQ and if you have just found the discussion I urge you to go back to the start. You may also find my original website at www.ace-d.co.uk useful since it has further background on my approach to teaching and learning and the series of free downloadable “Teaching Ideas” articles. If you want to know more about the basic needs I mentioned then I have published an e-book “Understanding Learning Needs, a practical reflection” in pdf format and it also available at www.ace-d.co.uk.
The next post on LQ will be explore the question “Where do you start if you want to develop your LQ?”