Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Optimizing Teacher-Student Potential in the Classroom—The Parent’s Role

You are so left brain.

No, I am not. I am abstract.

You’re just being so detailed.

I hear conversations like this all the time.

Dr. Ian McGilchrist, renowned neuroscientist and author of the book, The Master and his Emissary, says we live in a left-brain world (McGilchrist, March 2013). I am not surprised. I have presented numerous Emergenetics workshops to educators over the years and have found that the predominant profile of most teachers is to have a preference for left-brain thinking (Analytical/Structural) or concrete thinking (Structural/Social). I contend that most, if not all, of our schools are designed for the left brain, of the left brain, and by the left brain.

It’s back-to-school time again, and if you are like most parents, you want your child to do well in the classroom in 2013-2014 and beyond. However, what if your child has the potential to be a great student in a particular class but their personality is dissimilar to his teacher? 

In this article, I will explore the potential for differences—positives and challenges between a pupil and teacher in the classroom.

If your child has a preference for Analytical Thinking:
o   Strengths: logical, rational, typically likes math. Most of the classrooms that I have been in are ideal for this thinking attribute.

o   Potential Challenges: The percentages show that your child will do just fine in math and/or science. He “may” find classes in the arts boring. His ability to get an “A” in these classes may boil down to his own self-motivation.

If your child has a preference for Structural Thinking:
o   Strengths: detailed, practical, rule follower, follows process. The academic system of rules, regulations, and formulas should fit well with this student. 

o   Potential Challenges:  Too much change in a particular classroom or in their life in general “may” disrupt their routine, which may cause a dip in their grades.

If your child has a preference for Social Thinking:
o   Strengths: sensitive, empathic, friendly, giving, and intuitive about people. I would like to think that most students enjoy going to school but these students like school because they get the opportunity to learn and study in groups.

o   Potential Challenges: As a parent, you must provide his structure. His potential to overexert himself in extracurricular activities “may” hinder his ability to make the honor roll. While he loves to study in groups, there can be a fine line with this student; make sure he is indeed studying.

If your child has a preference for Conceptual Thinking:
o   Strengths: unconventional, seeks change, imaginative, and intuitive about ideas. This student learns best if he understands the subject’s big picture.

o   Potential Challenges: Many of our educational institutions are traditional—forcing students to sit in alphabetical order (year round) and follow the same routine each and every day. It does beg the question if a highly structured environment for conceptual “may” stifle his creativity. 

Believe or not, a person usually draws conclusions about another person based on that individual’s personality style—especially since most people tend believe that “everyone is supposed to think like me, and if you don’t think like me, something must be wrong with you.” 

There is not one best way of thinking, so if you have a teacher who believes their way of learning is the best, then as a parent, it is incumbent upon you to communicate your concerns your child’s teacher.

Remember, the purpose of the parent teacher conference is to assist in the communication between the parent, the teacher, and the student, in the subjects where stumbling blocks may exist for the student as well as subjects in which he is excelling.


1 comment: