The “I can’t do it” response of students challenged by their studies can be overcome, say Dionne Felix and Odessa Jordan of Calhoun College in Huntsville, Alabama. The belief operates out of a fear, they note. “The issue is not a particular learning style, but being differently-abled,” says Felix.
They created their own definition of differently-abled as “learners whose learning disposition is outside of the established norm, and who receive, perceive, and interact with information differently.”
The downward cycle teachers have to reverse begins with frustration and then leads to resignation, when the learner says “I quit” and then tells oneself that it is o.k. to shut down the brain. After that happens, the student begins to be self-deprecating and feeling stupid.
They cite Judy Wills, a neurologist and educator, who advocates a three step process:
R=Reach students’ attention
A= Cultivate a positive Attitude; reduce stress
But Johnson and Felix also provided their own four step ‘You Can’ approach:
1.Use a multi-modal approach. Avoid boxing your students in to styles.
2. Use a multi-medium approach. Engage your learners with a variety of low tech and high tech media in and outside of the classroom.
3. Encourage student creativity.
4. Help students harness their learning ability.
Using these four strategies You Can as a teacher prevent resignation and deprecation, and convey to your students You Can successfully learn.