Chris Moncrief is Apprentice Learning’s Program Director. You can read his bio on our Staff page. This is his first ‘official’ post. Welcome Chris!
It has been a great start to the year here at Apprentice Learning. After our second class, I asked the students for some feedback, “What do you think of classes so far?” One of the students said as politely as she could, “I like the classes and all but I thought we would be doing more, like, hands-on stuff.” Wanting to get right into some of that “hands-on work” is not a surprising request given what we might remember about being in the 8th grade. But for this student, hands-on meant something more. It just so happened that in this particular class students would be assessing themselves as having one of three primary learning styles: Tactile, Visual, and Auditory. The request for more hands-on activity was no surprise when we learned the student was a Tactile Learner. Although this student’s discovery was made after her request, it is my hope that this new self-knowledge will go a long way toward supporting her learning in all opportunities.
It was so wonderful to see the class light up with expression as all of their seemingly impulsive classroom behaviors started to make sense. They were gaining insight into their individual needs and then learning how to advocate for them. Students are using their learning styles as a way to communicate to their future employers how they can be most successful at work as well as a way of asking for the appropriate help with their school work. Tactile Learners know that they need to just try something, successfully or not, in order to understand it. Visual Learners know they need to ask for someone to show them and walk them through something in order to understand. Auditory Learners know they need just one clear set of directions to be able to understand. So whether Apprentices are weighing food at a pet shop, or learning about personal finances in an office, they are equipped to make these experiences work best for them. We have empowered them to take ownership of their education and make connections between the classroom and the outside world that otherwise may not have happened.
I can’t blame that student for asking for more hands-on experiences. In fact, I am excited by it. It means Apprentices are ready to start engaging full-on with the work they are going to be doing. Apprentice Learning is changing and furthering the educational experience of these students. This group of Apprentices is gearing up the next and final stage of their apprenticeship preparation. If this is how the rest of our classes will go, I look forward to all of the other amazing ways they are going to grow the fall.