A good teacher recognizes that students have different learning styles, but it can be challenging to differentiate instruction to effectively reach all the kinds of minds in their classroom. To help ensure that every CCSC student receives the type of instruction he or she needs to succeed, four learning specialists and four administrators recently completed three days of All Kinds of Minds training with expert AKOM facilitator Gene Thompson-Grove.
The CCSC faculty who participated in the training (along with two teachers from another charter school) were: Danielle Makarious (director of special programs), Chris Cook (upper school principal), Nathan Dineen (lower school associate principal), Vanessa Barrios (director of guidance and counseling), and learning specialists Dora Acosta, Brian Harvey, Day Farenga, and Kim Stewart.
Ms. Thompson-Grove explains the goals of the AKOM workshop:
This professional development course supports K-12 educators as they develop a better understanding of how to adapt instruction and design targeted interventions based on students’ neuro-developmental learning profiles. Participants learn to use the All Kinds of Minds framework and a strength-based approach to support students’ uniquely wired minds and to create more constructive learning tasks and environments. The course methodology includes hands-on exercises, case studies and guided practice.
By the conclusion of the three days, participants:
• Learned to use a neuro-development framework and its eight constructs to understand learning and its variations.
• Considered new ideas, tools and resources to increase their sense of efficacy in working with diverse learners.
• Examined student cases and student work using a neuro-developmental lens.
• Explored instructional strategies – accommodations and interventions – that leverage student strengths and interests while addressing weaknesses.
• Learned how to use the Management by Profile protocol to partner with students to manage their learning differences in a hopeful and optimistic way.
• Developed a common language about learners and learning to use with colleagues, students, and families – allowing conversations about student learning challenges to move beyond labeling.
One of the hands-on exercises involved collaborating and competing to construct the tallest structure out of spaghetti and marshmallows. It’s harder than it sounds.