Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quiet Reflection

Do you know your kids? Not just their names or their families. Do you know how they like to learn? Today we will continue the periodic series on types of learners. Today, the reflective learner.

One of the boys in my class comes into the room quietly. He moves from place to place, seeing what is in the room. He pauses for a few minutes, watching kids build a tower or work a puzzle. He stands near one wall, apart from everyone else, and quietly takes in what is happening throughout the room. I ask, "Would you like to play this game with us?" and he silently shakes his head no. When he does choose something to do, he finds a quiet activity that he can do alone. He typically chooses a drawing or writing activity, so he can express what he is thinking. He works diligently and smiles when I comment on what he is doing. Rarely do I hear him speak, and when he does, his voice is not much beyond a whisper.

My friend is a reflective, introverted learner. These learners take in lots of information and think about what they see. They enjoy working alone, or maybe one-on-one with an adult. They do not enjoy group games or talking with others. They think about how to apply learning to themselves personally and look for ways to process and express their learning...usually through pictures or writing.

Use these ideas to support your reflective learner:
  • Allow a child to watch rather than participate. Reflective learners may learn more through watching a game than doing it. Don't force a child to join in.
  • Provide quiet activities that allow a child to work alone.
  • Deliberately find time to spend one-on-one with a reflective learner. Work a puzzle together or talk to him while he draws.
  • In group time, ask a question and allow time before requiring an answer. Tell the children to think about their answers. This allows a reflective learner to process the question and formulate an answer.
  • Play quiet music to create a more contemplative atmosphere.
Often these learners can help other children see things in a new way. When they speak, they may offer insights that are original and surprising. Thank God that He has made some of your learners as reflective and introspective. One day these learners may become researchers, philosophers, or inventors. 

What ways can you encourage the quiet learners in your classroom?

First in this series: logical learner

Photo by R. Scott Wiley

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