Don’t you just love it when you know someone who can take all the information you have and make something useful with it? This is the strength of the Common Sense Learner. He is able to take all the facts gathered so accurately and sequentially by the Analytic Learner and put them to good use.
The analytic learner is most like the PCA denomination… we like information presented logically and sequentially. This is very western, unlike the other 2/3 of the world that is more interested in the story and the happening than the time. It is hard to teach many subjects in any way except chronologically, so we must use stories and illustrations to make them more understandable to all learners.
Each learning style is asking a different question, and unless you as the teacher or preacher understand how to answer that question, you may not reach this learner. (These same learning styles characteristics are true of those sitting in the pews listening to sermons as well. So pastors, listen up.) The Imaginative learner is asking why – why do I need to know this? Convince him or her that what you have to say is important and you will have a willing listener.
Part 1 of this article introduced the subject of learning styles and described the four basic ways we process new information. Part 2 described the way we perceive new information, concrete or abstract, and the different ways we order that new information, sequential or random. Part 3 will explain the three basic ways we take in new information.
In order to understand how to teach, learn, or even preach effectively, we must understand how people process information. This is the subject of learning styles. Most teaching and preaching are done according to one’s own learning style. By doing this we miss reaching those who do not learn the same way we do. Did you ever wonder why you were drawn by certain teachers and preachers and not others? It was because they communicated by the same learning style you have.
Over the years I have gone to MANY teacher training workshops. What I found interesting is that most of them simply focused on expanding a teacher’s arsenal of methods. After many years of studying the subject of how we learn and process new information, I have discovered that when you lay out all these teaching methods, people will pick those that best fit with their own learning style. This means that we will pick those methods we are comfortable using, but these will not reach as many as three-fourths of our students whose learning style is different from ours.
Nothing will ever take the place of one-on-one discipleship, and this article will not attempt to prove otherwise. Right now, I want you to just dream about what lies ahead for training in the future, the near future.
In Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin says, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” It has also been said this way, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Both statements express great truth. Unfortunately, the church has a great reputation for not planning. Instead we live on activity and hope it is accomplishing something. Remember the last seven words of a church? “We’ve always done it that way before!”
What does this have to do with the church today? There is a big emphasis currently on “intergenerational worship,” but what does that mean? What place do children have in worship, other than feeling like ignored spectators? Communion can be one of those important times when a child can be made to feel a part of the service while being taught what it is all about.
In the last Equip Tip, we emphasized the need of the church’s educational ministries to remember and return to the basics. Now, we address what those basics are. The goal of all our ministries is to make kingdom disciples. But what does that mean? A full-grown kingdom disciple would have two main characteristics. He would look, act, and think like Jesus and would be actively helping others become kingdom disciples.