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In 2000, Susan, who teaches at the University of Georgia, took the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) under my guidance. Susan wanted a working knowledge of the assessment so she could assist students interpret their own HAB results and apply what they had learned. You see, Susan and I had worked together for several years in a veterinary school program where all incoming graduate students take the HAB and together we do a group debrief and find ways to apply results to their learning and career.
Susan found the testing experience exhilarating, frustrating, fun, and engrossing. Expecting to learn more about the usefulness to students, Susan was surprised by what she learned herself. She reported that her feedback explained with great accuracy what she had learned through trial and error about her own abilities – especially her learning channels.
The feedback helped Susan move from an intellectual understanding of diversity in talents to an experiential understanding of those differences. She realized she could enhance her teaching style to accommodate different types of learners, some that she may have overlooked because of her own strengths as a visual, kinesthetic, and tonal learner.
Susan’s own learning experiences had taught her that an expensive, turgid text book didn’t add as much value to the learning process as listening, taking notes, and (especially) seeing the information displayed in outlines, graphs, pictures, and charts. Her teaching style relied heavily on visual representations and lectures. In fact, she didn’t require a textbook.
Equipped with a new framework and language to understand differences in learning talents, Susan examined her own teaching style and made significant changes. Here are a few.
1 – She now assigns textbooks. She realized students that learned best through reading (verbal) needed it – even if other students did not.
2 – She also identifies journal articles and ties all reading materials to her lectures, which still include a multitude of visual material (visual).
3 – Susan broadened learning opportunities for auditory (tonal) learners, too, by creating study aid recordings. For example, she records/videos all lectures so that students can review them to fill in their notes. She also creates downloadable audio files of her own voice listing the scientific name, common name, and impact of pathogens.
4 – Finally, her labs are more hands-on (kinesthetic); she has students set up and prep slides in addition to viewing samples under the scope. Susan believes she now reaches all kinds of learners, not just those that learn like her!
How do you think you learn best? Contact me to learn more about learning channels and the HAB.