Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Word vs. Image Part II: Become an Auditory Learner

How to train your student to be an auditory learner.
Why is this important? Because the ultimate goal of learning in any area is the Rhetoric Stage- excellent written and spoken communication. Speech requires the ability to listen and understand, to speak with meaning and fluency. We all know people who have brilliant ideas but who can't communicate them well or clearly. Rhetoric skills are imperative if we hope to influence, lead, teach, or be agents of change on any level. So, how do you develop this skill?
Play (and sing!) music. Preferably with words. Quality music with a message. We listen to Christian radio in the car and our kids have a vast repertoire of poetry, theology and music because of it. Our co-op is blessed with gifted musicians who have our kids singing rounds, patriotic, religious, theater and camp songs. It thrills me to hear my 10 year old singing Handel's Messiah, as well as hear Christina Rossetti's lovely poem, "What Can I Give Him," sung by first graders. Singing rounds together teaches everyone cadence and meter.
Read aloud. Q: When are your kids too old to be read aloud to. A: Never. (Andrew Pudewa has a great article on this ). Have your listeners narrate back to you what you've read. Don't be schoolish. Just be interested in what they are saying, prompt them to listen for details, go back and read again when they are unclear. Read aloud for 15 minutes a day or more. Explain difficult words. Use an excellent program like Writing With Ease for elementary ages to develop your skill and their in this area. When they are older delve into literary analysis with them. Teach them to discern good from bad from great.

Play CD's. We have a large repertoire of CD's. A lot of history. SOTW is excellent as are Diana Waring resources. Books on tape- G.H. Henty has several read by Jim Wiess and chock full of history (though you'll have to slog through the formulaic writing after the 2-3rd one).  The library has loads of books on tape.

Use flash cards. This uses more than one sensory pathway- both auditory and visual. Veritas Press' history and biblical time-line cards (160 in each set) are chock full of information and have beautiful artwork to represent the person, place and time-period. Laminate them and they'll last for years. We also do math flash cards, foreign language flash cards, science flashcards.

Study poetry, drama and speech. All require an understanding of both words, meaning, rhyme, meter. IEW's Language Acquisition Through Poetry is fun and engaging and a great place to start with kids as young as pre-school (get the CD). Logs' Grammar of Poetry is a good place to go from there. Simple, inexpensive and comprehensive. Weekly presentations required of elementary aged kids. Teach them about where to put their hands, how fast or slow to speak, etc. Drama or Speech for High Schoolers. If you can't find something, create a Drama camp or festival and check out Poetry Outloud. Utilize tropes in your home- puns, alliterations, metaphor. Build your kids repertoire of language and how to manipulate it. I remember the first family reunion I went to with my husband's family. The men talked in puns for hours. Literally. (Be impressed or groan, both are appropriate responses).

Memorize quotes and jokes and poetry. Living Memory has lists of quotes in both English and Latin. Both are fun to have in your repertoire. Ita Vita comes in handy more than you might think.  Quality movies (quality is loosly defined- I'm counting Finding Nemo on my list- "Yes, I'm a natural blue!") provide ample opportunity to build a repertoire of responses to life's circumstances. I've mentioned (over and over again) IEW's Language Acquisition Through Poetry Memorization as well as Grammar of Poetry. Both have a wonderful selection of poems ranging from Celery to Charge of the Light Brigade. As I've said before, teach your kids humor. Comedic timing is a gift to give the world. We have comic and joke books (Watterson is our very fav, but we appreciate lots of other artists as well) , watch Charlie Brown specials and comedians (Ken Davis is a particular fav and we like the Thou Shalt Laugh series). Comedy is not easy. Do your kids (and the world) a favor and teach them what's funny and how to be funny.

Fill your kids minds with words, word pictures, tropes, metaphors and their transition to the Rhetoric stage will be that much smoother because they will not only be excellent communicators but they will have something of excellence  to talk about. If you train them to be auditory power-houses, they will be picking up and filing boat-loads of information without your even knowing it!

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, ideas.


Deanna said...

Just this morning, I played Pinky and the Brain's the Brain Song (on Youtube) for my daughter who is studying the brain and nervous system in biology.
Okay, albeit light weight, but still fun and auditory, right? :)

Enjoying your post series.

LaughingLioness said...

Absolutely! Learning is FUN = )

Kash said...

Along the lines of comedy, improv is a wonderful, wonderful thing. The time I spent in an improv troupe was relatively short, but I think it teaches so much, in terms of presentation, give and take with others, timing, you name it. We're lucky enough to live in a place where there are improv classes for older kids and teens, but barring that availability, a lot of college campuses have improv groups. (Where I was involved.) And, really, there's nothing funnier than a bunch of Georgia Tech geeks doing improv. ;)

LaughingLioness said...

Improv - brilliant! And I know enough Georgians to agree with your last statement!!

Cheryl said...

This made me realize that we need to add memorization back into our school week :)