'music reverie'

Does one size fit all?

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn

Estrada

Years ago it was normal for teachers to stand in front of a class of silent students and present what was to be learnt that day. Everyone was taught exactly the same thing in exactly the same way.

When I was at school some of the teaching was still done like this and I remember very long history lessons where the teacher did absolutely nothing else but dictate notes for us. It didn’t do anything to inspire a love of the subject, which is a real shame as nowadays I’m quite interested in history.

There was no accounting for the way different students might learn and if you could really have done with a bit of extra help then you were often left to flounder.

Thankfully things have changed a lot and learning has become more personalised. There’s a much greater understanding of the needs of the individual student.

In one to one music lessons this can perhaps be even more easily achieved than classroom lessons. We can give our students more tailored and personalised learning.

Every child that comes through the studio door is unique. They might be different ages, genders, from other cultures, with their own learning style and level of musical ability. They may even have learning needs such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.

If we can find ways of teaching the same thing but in many different ways there is a greater chance of teaching each of these students ‘the way they learn’. I love this quote from Paul Harris in ‘Improve Your Teaching’ (a great book and well worth a read) which highlights this:

The secret is to approach the problem from as many different angles as possible – teaching the same thing in lots of different ways is to teach powerfully

Paul Harris, Improve Your Teaching

I’ve found this to be so true in my own teaching. Sometimes I might use an analogy with one student to help them grasp something but then the same analogy might not really work with another. Similarly certain books might work well with one student but not with another. We are all different and one size doesn’t fit all.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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