Part 2 of Learning Intelligence (LQ) and the link to falling apples
In part one I made the link between what I claim to be the unrecognised aspect which impacts learning, the learning environment, and key transitions in the learning journey. I suggested what some of the behaviours may be where a change in learning environment takes place and would add a caution about accepting them without investigation. I want to finish of this article by considering what this means for the teacher and learner.
What this means for the Teacher
The first point is to be observant and notice changes in behaviour associated with learning. If you change approach, materials or resources note how this impacts on the learner behaviour and attitudes to learning. After some time you will establish the “learning map” of the learner to which you can refer when you notice any changes. Typical responses of a learner struggling to adapt to a changing learning environment include being more chatty and sometimes a little louder than normal. They can also find it difficult to settle down and get to work and being late to lesson is a typical behaviour. Distraction strategies include asking unnecessary questions, a clue you must not miss, and asking for resources they may actually not need. If a learner begins to engage, where they were before they were reluctant, explore any changes you have made and identify those that have had a significant impact. Learning to incorporate these, especially when introducing a new topic (often the most demanding of learning times), will help the learner adapt to new challenges.
Secondly find time to discuss with previous teachers or parents who have experience of interacting with the learner the behaviour of any leaner where there appears to be an anomaly with either behaviour or progress. Unfortunately the focus tends to be towards the negative aspects rather than also recognising the improvements. Parents will notice a happy child or one reluctant to go to school; both are indicators of how the learner is finding their learning environment. If you are not the sole class teacher this task is easier since not only do you have an opportunity to discuss with other teachers you also have the opportunity to observe the learner in a different environment. If you ever get the chance to shadow a learner I would recommend you take it. It is surprising what you find out as the learner moves from teacher to teacher and subject to subject. Where you may not be able to discuss with earlier teachers, perhaps due to a change of school, then ask for reports which include teacher comments rather than just grades or marks.
Include in any discussion with the learner not only the topic of the learning but also ask what makes learning more enjoyable for them. You may not be able to accommodate this learning need but having the discussion is one of the ways you can help the learner in seeing the link between their environment and their learning. You can also begin to discuss strategies to help them manage their learning environment to meet their needs.
What this means for the Learner
You will have an idea of which teachers or even which subjects you like best, the question you must ask yourself is why? Think about what is common between the teachers you like to learn with or the subjects you like to study. It may be some teachers allow you to study in groups, or it may be you are involved in an investigation style of approach. Whatever it is it is a suggestion of the type of learning environment you manage best in. Knowing this can help you develop strategies in other subjects or with other teachers to help meet your learning needs and enjoy those times too.
Of course it is not only your teachers or the subject which affects your ability to learn although they are a key part of your learning environment. You also need to consider your class or group when you think about where you learn best. A mix of certain people can really change your learning environment. Perhaps it is a little noisier than you like or some people are really competitive in the way they behave. Whatever it is you need to have a conversation with your parents and teachers to find ways of managing your learning environment to support your learning. A change of where you sit can help and in one school I know they allow students to wear a type of earmuff that cuts out some of the noise that can be a distraction.