"Different minds learn differently," writes Dr. Mel Levine, one of the best-known education experts and pediatricians in America today. And that's a problem for many children, because most schools still cling to a one-size-fits-all education philosophy. As a result, these children struggle because their learning patterns don't fit the schools they are in.
In A Mind at a Time, Dr. Levine shows parents and others who care for children how to identify these individual learning patterns. He explains how parents and teachers can encourage a child's strengths and bypass the child's weaknesses. This type of teaching produces satisfaction and achievement instead of frustration and failure.
Different brains are differently wired, Dr. Levine explains. There are eight fundamental systems, or components, of learning that draw on a variety of neurodevelopmental capacities. Some students are strong in certain areas and some are strong in others, but no one is equally capable in all eight. Using examples drawn from his own extensive experience, Dr. Levine shows how parents and children can identify their strengths and weaknesses to determine their individual learning styles.
For example, some students are creative and write imaginatively but do poorly in history because weak memory skills prevent them from retaining facts. Some students are weak in sequential ordering and can't follow directions. They may test poorly and often don't do well in mathematics. In these cases, Dr. Levine observes, the problem is not a lack of intelligence but a learning style that doesn't fit the assignment. Drawing on his pioneering research and his work with thousands of students, Dr. Levine shows how parents and teachers can develop effective strategies to work through or around these weaknesses.
"It's taken for granted in adult society that we cannot all be 'generalists' skilled in every area of learning and mastery. Nevertheless, we apply tremendous pressure to our children to be good at everything. They are expected to shine in math, reading, writing, speaking, spelling, memorization, comprehension, problem solving...and none of us adults can" do all this, observes Dr. Levine. Learning begins in school but it doesn't end there. Frustrating a child's desire to learn will have lifelong repercussions. This frustration can be avoided if we understand that not every child can do equally well in every type of learning. We must begin to pay more attention to individual learning styles, to individual minds, urges Dr. Levine, so that we can maximize children's learning potential. In A Mind at a Time he shows us how.
The Ways of Learning
The mosquito is an automaton. It can afford to be nothing else. There are only about one hundred thousand nerve cells in its tiny head, and each one has to pull its weight. The only way to run accurately and successfully through a life cycle in a matter of days is by instinct, a series of rigid behaviors programmed by the genes....The channels of human mental development, in contrast, are circuitous and variable.
Edward O. Wilson, On Human Nature
Fritz wore very thick lenses in his wire-rimmed spectacles. He was an awkward kid who mostly liked being by himself. At age eight he was becoming an insatiable glutton for the printed word, devouring all manner of written nourishment wherever he found it. At first, his parents were vexed by his marathon stays locked in the bathroom, until they found out that that was where their eccentric Fritz felt most comfortable savoring his reading. Fritz came to see me because of some motor problems, ...
If you liked A Mind At A Time, try these:
Wake up, America: Were raising a nation of wimps.
Hothouse parenting has hit the mainstreamwith disastrous effects. Teens lack leadership skills. College students engage in deadly binge drinking. Graduates cant even negotiate their own salaries without bringing mom or dad in for a consult.
Raising smarter kids isn't about forcing information on them - instead identify the individual interests of your children and nurture a genuine love of learning. This will result in children who are determined, creative, and ambitious.
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