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This one is about: Suggestion when Child Has Difficulties Learning


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Each child is different, the following suggestion was posted by Marti Anderson, a teacher in response to someone asking how to help their elementary school child with learning.

I post this for parents on this list with children who are unenthused about learning. I've been doing quite a bit of research the last couple of years on Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. A good URL leading to many resources is at:

http://www.newhorizons.org/bibmishelf.html

Gardner originally defined seven kinds of intelligence and has recently added an eighth. They are: (1) linguistic; (2) logical-mathematical; (3) spatial; (4) bodily kinesthetic; (5) musical; (6) interpersonal; (7) intrapersonal; and (8) naturalist. Traditionally, education has focused on the first two types. Children who operated well within these
spheres generally have done well in school and have enjoyed the educational system. Other children frequently failed and rarely developed a liking for [much less a passion for] learning.

When multiple intelligences are carefully assessed, and children's strengths and weaknesses within them are understood, adaptations to curricula can be made. I have a terrific book that has strategies for using strengths in one area to overcome weaknesses in another area:

Campbell, Linda, Campbell, Bruce, and Dickinson, Dee. _Teaching and Learning Through Multiple Intelligences_. NY: Allyn & Bacon. 1996 (2nd edition)

I believe with all my heart that if we can learn what excites a child and what his or her natural affinities are, that then we can awaken that love for learning. What that child loves to learn, and how that child goes about learning it, may not be exactly what we expect, and it is difficult for those of us with one way of processing information and ideas to assist those with a different way of doing this, but it is possible, and very much worth it.

Marti Anderson


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