As Temple Grandin presented, there are many different types of people in this world and every person has their own way that they can think and learn best. In other classes and from many textbooks, I have studied the different types of learners and how to cater to each learner’s individual needs. There are students who are visual learners, some who are auditory learners, and some who are kinesthetic learners. While certain children would rather listen to a teacher lecture, others would benefit most from a hands-on activity using manipulatives and real life examples.
As a future teacher, I have begun to learn how to alter and create a lesson plan that best suits all three types of learners. However, we never discussed different approaches to teaching different thinkers. According to Grandin, there are four types of thinkers: photo realistic visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal mind thinkers, and sensory thinkers. Each type of thinker has their strengths and weaknesses. For example, verbal mind thinkers can spit off any fact, however they are horrible at drawing and thinking about abstract ideas. Grandin identifies herself as a photo realistic visual thinker. She compares her brain to a Google image search.
The part of Grandin’s lecture that I struggled with the most is when she mentioned how she struggled in algebra because of the type of thinker she is. She touched upon how thinkers could have an easier time reaching their full potential if they don’t have to learn a subject that is too hard for them. For example, Grandin suggested that she just skip algebra and move straight to geometry because her brain was not wired for algebraic thinking. I don’t think I agree with this statement. Just because a student is not good at a subject, does not mean that he or she can be dismissed from it. Part of the goal of schooling is to get students to become well-rounded thinkers and good problem solvers. By allowing students whose thinking methods are not conducive to a certain subject to be excused, we, as teachers, are robbing the students of the opportunity to become better thinkers and engaging them in a productive struggle. As teachers, it is important to challenge our students and hold them to a high standard. This video illustrates the importance of challenging students.
When students are challenged to learn things outside of their comfort zone, they work hard to master the skills needed. If Temple Grandin were exempt from algebra, who’s to say that she would be the type of thinker that she is today? The skills that she learned from being in algebra class goes beyond completing math computations, and is could be an attribute to the way her mind currently thinks.