If a Pupil Cannot Learn the Way You Teach Can You Teach the Way They Learn

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  • 8/4/2019 If a Pupil Cannot Learn the Way You Teach Can You Teach the Way They Learn


    If a pupil cannot learn the way you teach can you teach the way they learn Discuss

    One of the great things about teaching is that no two pupils are alike, therefore in this short essay I

    will briefly focus on these main points of teacher flexibility:

    1. The importance of reflective teaching2. Acknowledgment of pupil learning styles3. Consequent approaches to teaching and learning1. Nicholas Cook writes that, ...it is all too easy to see the teacher as the active contributor

    and the student as the passive vehicle, but in reality this is anything but the case.1

    I agree

    with Cook as I believe that as the teacher, it is essential to assess how your approaches to

    lesson content and delivery are being processed and absorbed by the pupil, for if learning is

    not taking place, then something needs to mutually change. Whilst a lack of pupil progress

    should not always be attributed to inadequate teaching, it is nevertheless important for the

    teacher to possess a level of self-reflection and analysis to evaluate learning outcomes and

    monitor how effectively they are communicating their teaching strategies.

    2. No matter how effectively a teacher may believe they are communicating, there will comeinstances where the pupil is not improving as easily as is to be normally expected. The most

    obvious reason why this may be the case could be due to learning styles, as for instance if

    you are teaching a song aurally to a pupil who is primarily a visual learner, then progress is

    bound to be slower than if a form of graphic notation was to be employed. Of course, no

    pupil will be completely one style of learner, and they might even change or mix their

    learning styles according to the task, but again it is up to the teacher to analyse and pinpoint

    how their pupil responds in every instance. Consequently, a teacher needs to be eclectic

    and flexible enough to communicate the appropriate expertise in whatever shape or form

    necessary, regardless of learning style or the teachers personal preference.

    3. Whilst this may appear daunting, Jasenka Horvat argues that it is beneficial for both teacherand student, as she states, The more tools you have in your teaching toolbox, the better a

    teacher you will become.2

    I agree to a large extent with Horvat, as a multi-sensory and

    interdisciplinary approach to certain teaching strategies will enable you to successfully tailor

    your teaching to each individual learner, as opposed to saying the same thing over and over

    again without any thought into what learning outcome is actually being communicated.

    Again, it is a question of flexibility and being able to adapt to any given learning situation in

    which a pupil may place you; as it is not always the other way around.

    To conclude, I think that if you cannot switch from teaching the way a pupil learns as

    easily as enabling a pupil to learn the way you teach, then your levels of success are

    bound to decrease.The ability to be flexible is just as important as the knowledge


    Word count: 540

    1Nicholas Cook,Musical Creativity, page 16

    2Jasenka Horvat, page 95 from Music therapy with children and their families

  • 8/4/2019 If a Pupil Cannot Learn the Way You Teach Can You Teach the Way They Learn



    Ed. Deliege, Irene and Wiggins, Geraint A. Musical Creativity, Psychology Press, East Sussex,


    Horvat, Jasenka Who is the Therapy For?: Involving a Parent or

    Carer in their Childs Music Therapy, from Music

    Therapy with Children and their Families, Ed. Amelia

    Oldfield and Claire Flower, Jessica Kingsley

    Publishers, London 2008


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