Understanding students

A teacher should know that after providing the same lecture on a subject, not all of the students remember the same things. Some students will find it easier to remember information that was written on the blackboard, while others might remember better what the professor said, and a third group could have a better memory of the impression that the lecture gave them.

When we have a group of students who are used to paying more attention to what they see, and we give them verbal instructions (for example, to do exercise 2 on lesson 4), then we might have to repeat the information several times, because they won’t hear it. If we have the same group of students, and we write the instructions down on the blackboard, then we’ll avoid having to repeat the information multiple times.

Representational systems are not neutral. It’s not the same thing to remember images as it is to remember sounds. Each representational system has its own characteristics and functioning rules. Representational systems are not good or bad, but they’re more or less efficient for certain mental processes. If I’m choosing an outfit to wear, it could be a good tactic to create an image of the different clothing items, and to mentally “see” how they match with each other. Focusing on the appearance is not that good of a strategy if what I’m doing is choosing food from a restaurant menu.

Every system has its own characteristics and is more efficient in some fields than in others. So, my students’ behavior in the classroom changes according to the representational systems they favor, whether they’re more visual, auditory or kinetics.

As teachers, and to strengthen our students’ learning, we’re interested in organizing classroom work by taking into consideration the way in which all of our students learn.