In my two decades of working as a researcher, educational therapist, and content creator, I’ve realized that teaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. The human brain is a marvel, each with its unique way of understanding the world. This realization led me to develop an adaptable approach to teaching, building strategies and supports that cater to 12 distinct ways learners process information.
The term neurodiversity encapsulates the idea that there’s no single correct way of thinking, learning, or behaving. This perspective, highlighted by a Harvard Health Publishing blog, resonates deeply with me. Born in the 1990s, the neurodiversity movement seeks to appreciate and accommodate all kinds of learners. It celebrates the advantages of neurological differences, rather than labeling them as disabilities or disorders.
Consider dyslexics, for example. Eide and Brock Fernette’s book, the “Dyslexic Advantage“, sheds light on the unique strengths of a dyslexic brain, suggesting that such individuals bring a unique perspective that can address complex problems.
I often reflect on my interaction with students with ADHD. I refer to them as ‘chiefs’. Why? Because their ability to pay intense attention to multiple stimuli at once, perceived by some as a deficit, might be deemed a vital strength in other contexts. Imagine a setting where noticing subtle environmental changes could mean the difference between life and death, like spotting distant bisons or impending storms. My ADHD students would excel in these scenarios, becoming leaders or ‘chiefs’ in their communities.
Through my exploration into cognitive styles, multisensory learning, and more, I’ve identified 12 unique ways people process information. Being aware of these enables educators to be truly inclusive and provide a diverse learning environment.
Key considerations for these ways of processing include:
Throughout my research and experiences in the field of educational therapy, I’ve come to appreciate the rich tapestry of how individuals absorb, process, and retain information. To offer a clearer understanding, I’ve delineated 12 distinct ways of learning.
To gauge a student’s preferred style, both qualitative discussions and an assessment like the Student Processing Inventory (SPI) can be employed. The SPI is a transformative assessment tool designed to revolutionize education by promoting inclusivity. Tailored to support educators, parents, professionals, and students, the SPI provides a suite of four pivotal tools:
Rooted in evidence-based practices and proven methodologies, the SPI empowers educators in crafting learning spaces that truly accommodate and champion every student. By joining the SPI community, you’ll be part of an educational revolution that harnesses the full potential of every learner.
As educators, it’s not just about accommodating the 12 ways of processing but also about finding diverse and adaptable methods that can cater to a variety of learners. For instance, incorporating multi-processing activities like skits or hands-on projects can engage a broad spectrum of students.
Especially for young learners, exposing them to various processing styles is crucial. It helps them find their niche while ensuring a well-rounded learning experience. But beyond methods and strategies, it’s essential to bring joy into the process. This can be achieved by:
In essence, teaching is an art as much as it is a science. By embracing neurodiversity and recognizing the unique strengths each student brings to the table, we can create an inclusive, enriching, and joyful learning environment.You can find Dr. Warren’s other products and resources at Good Sensory Learning and Learning Specialist Courses.