The first question you should ask this year.

@MrBrettClark 2 Comments

My wife is having surgery next week in Indianapolis.  This past friday, we were at the hospital where her surgery is taking place, for a pre-op appointment.  They were going through the different information for the operation when the nurse asked a question that caught me by surprise.  She asked my wife, "How do you like to learn?"  After my wife answered the question, the nurse began to give her more information on the procedure based on my wife's answer.

It got me thinking about the beginning of school.  One of the best things we can do as teachers, is ask the right questions.  Usually the beginning of school starts with the same questions.  "How was your summer?" "Did you go any where exciting?" Of course, if you had a terrible summer, and you were stuck at home, you'd rather not answer.  I understand the reason behind the questions, we like to get to know our students better.

However, what better question could we ask than the one the nurse asked my wife?  What if you started off the year by asking your class, "How do you like to learn?"  First of all, think about what this question is telling your students:

1) The class is about them, and how they like to learn.
2) The class is not about you, and how you like to teach.
3) You are telling them that they all have the ability to learn.
4) You are telling them that it possible to enjoy learning.

It is a question we must both ask and then act upon.  If the nurse had never offered material based on my wife's answer, I just would have thought it was a weird question.

I think of my three sons.  Two of them are in school.  They are completely different when it comes to learning.  My oldest is a reader.  He's about to go into the third and is an avid reader.  My middle chid is a hands on learner.  He is about to go into the first grade and loves to put together Lego sets.  This morning we went to Lowe's Build and Grow program.  They build binoculars and both took a very different approach, as the pictures below show.  The oldest placed everything out, and read the directions before doing anything.  My middle child just started putting things together.

Their teacher needs to know how they like to learn, and needs to act on it. Their education depends on it.


  1. i'm a visual learner...stick a manual in front of me and I won't learn a thing. Show me how to do it, and I can follow.

  2. Great post. Fits right in to the first unit I've planned and the launch of the Blank White Page project. Thanks for reminding us of the usefulness of learning everything we can about our students.

    Also, very forward thinking hospital! I wish that was part of enrollment into school as well...