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Your Exceptional Learning Abilities

By Charlie Badenhop

Over the years, have you perhaps lost sight of the fact that you are a brilliant learner? "Huh?" you might ask. "Are you talking to me?" Here is a story to illustrate my point.

I was sitting in a restaurant talking to a Japanese boy in the first grade. I asked him how he was liking school and he quickly exclaimed that he hated school. I asked him why he hated school and he said, "Two reasons. One you have to sit still all the time, and two, there are too many things you have to remember."

I told him I agreed that being required to sit still was really "dumb." On the other hand I said, "I think you remember much more than your teacher realizes." This remark caught him by surprise and I felt like he didn't know whether to agree with me or ask me if I was crazy.

Speaking in Japanese, I asked the boy if he was learning some English. He said he was, and that English was really difficult. I told him that English was actually quite easy to learn, and that most every American child can speak English prior to entering grammar school. The boy sat quietly for a moment and then replied, "But Japanese children can speak Japanese prior to entering school!"

"Yes." I said, "Since you have already proven how smart you are in learning Japanese, I am sure you will also do great with English." Once again the child was at a loss for words.

The restaurant we were at had heavy paper covering the tables and there were crayons for children to draw with while waiting for the meal to arrive. Noticing the boy had a toy replica of a "MIG" fighter aircraft with him, I picked up a crayon and drew a simple picture of the plane and said, "This is a MIG" as I drew the letters MIG. Next I drew a pig and said "This is a PIG," as I wrote the word "pig." Then I drew a branch and said "This is a "TWIG" as I wrote the word "twig".

Next, I drew a very simple picture of a PIG sitting with a TWIG in its mouth, while flying a MIG, and I said, "See, the PIG is in the MIG, with a TWIG," feeling like I was replicating Dr. Seuss. The boy laughed, picked up a crayon, and began quickly drawing all sorts of things. Each picture that he drew, I labeled in English, and he was quite willing to repeat the English words after me. "Wow he said, if school was this much fun I wouldn't mind going!"

How about you? Were you forced to learn in a specific manner in school? Did your teacher help you understand the best way for YOU to learn? Did your teacher acknowledge you were a talented learner?

Every teacher, parent, and student needs to realize that each human being has their own unique way of organizing and thus understanding and remembering incoming information. When we lose sight of this, children come to dislike school and begin to believe that something is wrong with them. What a great disservice to humankind!

Wouldn't it be great if we were able to foster school environments that adapted to the children, rather than forcing the children to adapt to the school? Please take a moment and consider... You have your own unique and high quality way of learning. How can you better support yourself to be all that you truly are?

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