Recently, I was invited to be part of a teacher in-service at a local Montessori preschool. We met in the evening, after the children had gone home. As I entered the classroom, I saw shelves lined with familiar Montessori activities—all colorful, well-organized and designed to entice young learners. There is a special place in my heart for Montessori preschools, because their teaching method includes techniques and tools that work well for a multitude of learning styles, especially our visual and kinesthetic learners. Their engaging activities get the children interested but are also designed to help children develop discrimination, sequencing and organization skills that are critical to successful learning.
This group of teachers wanted to expand their understanding of learning styles, specifically visual learners, and had already read several chapters of my book, Being Visual. We had a great time discussing the needs of different learners, how they aligned with Montessori methods and how they affected children as they matured and moved into more traditional education environments.
Then we had some fun finding out new things about ourselves, as each teacher completed their own learning style assessment. The more we understand the way we think and learn, the better prepared we are to understand others. As each person reviewed their results, there were interesting comments and a few chuckles, signifying recognition and fresh revelation.
As the teachers shared their results with the group, they better understood how they related to each other. One teacher shared, “Knowing each others’ areas of strength and weakness means we can work to balance each other.”
We want to develop a balanced set of abilities in our children and ourselves, and having patience, while being intentional about balancing each other out, seems a lovely way to enjoy the journey.