Those of you who know me will already be familiar with “My Why”. If not here is the link to the story: https://www.connective-learning.co.uk/my-very-big-why/
However like most people there is more than one reason for “why” I do what I do.
Today I would like to introduce you to Steven. Steven is my youngest son and his learning journey at school has been interesting. Unlike his grandad, uncle and older brother, he’s not dyslexic so you’d think his time at school might well have been more straight forward.
In some ways it has but in other ways he represents many children’s journey through a school system that doesn’t play to everyone’s strengths.
It would be fair to say that as parents we know our children best and hence will know their strengths and their weaknesses or put differently their challenges.
I would class Steven’s strengths as follows:-
- He’s determined.
- He knows his own mind.
- He will focus 100% when he’s interested in something.
- He’s very quick in his thinking.
- He is competitive.
- He likes to win.
Like everyone Steven also has things that can stand in the way of his success or hinder his progress.
- He’s stubborn.
- He is hard to engage in something he see’s no point in.
- He gets bored very quickly.
- He doesn’t always listen to good advice.
- He doesn’t like what he perceives to be unfair.
Steven’s school journey
Steven didn’t love or hate primary school but found it quite boring. He was good at Maths but didn’t like the way it was taught. He often got the answers without showing his workings out. He couldn’t see the point of wasting his time with additional writing. Sound familiar?
English was his least favourite subject and the pressure on him to read books had the reverse effect and he refused to read books. Do you have a book refuser?
He would however listen to audio books and could often recite the story word for word. Giving us the first clue that he loved to use his tonal skills.
He also loved sport and was in every team possible and was good at every sport. He liked to win and hence he was happiest in PE lessons. Sadly not the same amount of PE lessons as there were English and Maths.
However parents evenings were always the same:
Could try harder.
Doesn’t pay attention.
Handwriting could be neater.
Doesn’t put his hand up in class.
They never really saw his quick enquiring mind and his ability to absorb information at an alarming rate.
When Steven left primary school, we were pretty confident that he used his tonal and kinaesthetic skills for learning. Not the ideal combination for our system but we could work with that.
Steven is currently in year 10 at secondary school and in the middle of his GCSE journey. Up until year 10 Steven was still showing all the signs of being a lazy, unengaged student.
It’s very frustrating watching your child not trying and couldn’t be bothered at school. However, we took the approach of rewarding the successes and ignoring the lack of effort in most subjects. We started the conversations around what he enjoyed and why and that has given great insight into help him. It’s something I ask all students I work with to understand the best ways to help them.
Steven’s feedback on school has been really interesting.
He likes the subjects where he likes the teachers. The teachers he engages with have interesting voices (all have accents) and they teach with a lot of story telling.
He enjoys doing well in tests and exams and loves coming near the top.
He likes working with teachers that have banter in class and encourage debate and conversation.
Without knowing it he was tapping into his natural learning ability using his tonal and kinaesthetic skills.
That Golden moment
Although it was clear that Steven didn’t really use his visual learning skills very much, we hadn’t seen him use Audio Digital skills.
Well along comes teaching for GCSE’s. It’s very much how to pass the exams. Which means how to structure your answers, understanding the questions and finding out how to get the maximum marks.
This was Steven’s light bulb moment. He started to see each lesson as a game with different strategies to get the best marks. He has become engaged in learning in a way we’ve never seen before.
He’s tapping into his tonal skills as he has the right teachers for him. His audio digital skills are making sense of what each GCSE requires and his Kinaesthetic skills are fully utilised in his PE GCSE and generally feeling great about the game that is school.
He has found the right revision tools to use and also how to use them and 9 times out of 10 he discusses his topics with me.
He has proven what I believe, that everyone can learn, they just need to find their way.
Steven represents every student I work with who is not engaged in the school system. Their reasons may well be different to Steven’s but leaving school believing you can learn and be successful is my dream for everyone.
“There’s a golden moment for your teenager out there waiting to be found. Get help to find it in your teenager,book a discovery session today. Call 07900 894725 or follow this link now: https://www.connective-learning.co.uk/discovery-session-exam-stress-support/
PS – I can only do 4 discovery sessions a week so don’t hang around