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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 1 - January/February 2014

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A Fresh Start for 2014

By Alan Stevens

It's not only the beginning of a new year for the students. It's also a new beginning for teachers. A time to learn new skills and an opportunity to make teachers' jobs easier.

To achieve this, teachers need to more thoroughly understand their students including how to recognise the student's individual learning styles and how to motivate them to learn.

For decades we've been saying that "If a child can't learn from the way we teach, then we need to teach the way they learn".

The beginning of 2014 is a perfect time to put this dicta into action.
We know that the productivity of workers improves by up to 36 percent when they are happy. The same goes for students who are engaged and interested in their studies.

The trick is to find what triggers or motivates the interest in the students, and the answer will be different for each child.

Systems like Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Discovery Learning have proven that when student's interest and personal motivation are peaked, their academic achievement improves by as much as by 20 percent.

One way you can do this is by utilising different teaching and learning styles. PBL brings students together to work on problems. Here the students develop teamwork and cooperation while learning lifelong strategies of problem solving. This type of learning leads to greater student involvement, self motivation and a better understanding of the different personalities in the group. It fosters leadership, mentoring and support between the students. PBL also leads to a reduction in bullying and relationship conflicts, and creates a happier school experience for students.

For the teacher, observing the students engaged in such projects gives them better insights into the personalities of each child and provides information to help guide the students to the right subjects and future careers.

On its own, PBL doesn't provide knowledge on which students will or won't work together prior to selecting teams.

Skills such as Human Pattern Recognition and Human Trait Recognition can be of great assistance at this point. Together these train teachers how to read each student more effectively. How to recognise students' personality, what they feel, how they prefer to learn, how they take in information and how they prefer to process information; and all of these on their first day at school.

Some of the things a teacher should look for in each student includes:

  • Level of innate self confidence
  • Objective or sequential thinking styles
  • Self reliant or prefers to work in teams
  • Analytical or quick to make decisions based on the big picture

Combining the ability to recognise each child's individual personality traits with the more interesting and intriguing learning formats will make for a far more interesting and productive 2014.

About Alan Stevens

Alan Stevens, the Face Profiler, is a coach and trainer in the Art of Reading People, based in Newcastle NSW. He has developed Social Emotional Learning programs for school teachers and corporations including programs to recognise what other people are not telling you, what they are concealing, and how they are likely to behave in any situation. His programs are delivered locally in schools and to businesses locally and internationally through the internet. He was described by the Newcastle Herald as "The Mentalist meets Dr. Phil meets Dr. Cal Lightman from Lie To Me", and his passion is to share these skills throughout the community.

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