Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Key to Learning Anything by Suzanne Gose

I am so excited to share this book on my blog. I purchased it for my Kindle soon after I bought it last summer. It was one of those 99 cent specials! I am very interested in learning styles, and this book had come up in an Amazon search on the topic.  I was also intrigued by the author - "SeƱora Gose." Amazon said she teaches Spanish. I was teaching Spanish! Instant interest!

The KEY to learning anything, according to Suzanne, is motivation (Sorry, read on the Kindle so can't cite page numbers). This is stated at the beginning of chapter one, getting right to the point. But Suzanne does not just tell you that you need to be motivated to learn, she also guides you through a thought process to discover your motivation for what you are trying to learn.

I completely agree that you need some sort of motivation to learn. As a high school Spanish teacher, I have seen a lot of students that had absolutely no motivation to learn Spanish. (Hell-o, there are Hispanics everywhere in Gwinnett County!) These did poorly. For some of my students, their motivation was simply "because it was a requirement to graduate." Those did well on tests, but did not retain the material. When there was a motivation, the students did better. I recall one student, Glenn, whose parents spoke Spanish at work - but also at home when they wanted to keep something from the kids. He had motivation to learn Spanish and pretty soon was correcting Mom & Dad's Spanish!

For situations where one just cannot find any motivation, Suzanne suggests giving yourself a stake (negative) or reward (positive) for doing or not doing something. She then discusses each and gives several examples of applying stakes or rewards. All right, we have completed chapter one! The book is very easy reading.

Chapter 2 discusses one of the biggest hindrance to learning - unreasonable expectations. Chapter 3 discusses one of my favorite topics - learning styles.  Suzanne has an excellent assessment for discovering your learning style. In my research I have come across several similar assessments; I found hers to be my favorite. In fact, I liked it so much, I emailed her to ask if I could use it in my classroom research. Since then we have become good Facebook friends; I think if she lived in Georgia instead of Texas, we would probably hang out! In addition to the assessment in the book, she also gives a link to a video assessment on her website! (I love books with "extras.")

Suzanne then spends the next several chapters discussing the different learning styles. BUT she also gives strategies to maximize the effectiveness of studying, based on your learning style. I think this section would be invaluable to parents, especially if their student was struggling in school. I was able to apply some of this information in my classes last school year, particularly the strategies for Kinesthetic (hands-on) learners. These are the students who are constantly fidgeting. I used to try to stop the fidgeting, but last year, after reading this book, I began to focus on stopping the distraction of the fidgeting, rather than stopping the fidgeting. She brought out the point that suppressing the urges to fidget could actually hinder these students from learning! One of the strategies was to allow the student to fidget with a pipe cleaner, which is very quiet. I actually tried that with one of my 10th graders. I'm not sure it worked, though, as the next time I came by his desk he had fashioned it into a stick figure and was tearing up paper to create a bed, pillow, and blanket for the pipe cleaner man!

Since Suzanne teaches Spanish, subjects discussed include foreign language, a subject that is often overlooked in other educational venues. In four years of teachers' conventions, I never once had the opportunity to attend a workshop for foreign language teachers! She completes the book with a resource/reading list. Avid readers could complete this short book in one sitting as it is a very easy read. I HIGHLY recommend it to teachers, parents,and homeschooling parents. To be able to get an idea of your child's learning style and learn how to help them learn better is invaluable information.

Check out Suzanne's website www.flipfloplearning.com or her other products on Amazon. She has some great Spanish vocabulary flashcards and an iPhone app among other products.

Happy to be sharing Suzanne on the Women Living Well Wednesday Link-up! Click the WWLW link to the right of the page to check out the other blogs! I am #96.


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  2. I'm still figuring out this blogging thing & couldn't get the WLWW Link Up link IN my post. But if you click on the graphic on the right of my page or the WLW web address in the recommended websites list, you'll be connected to Courtney's blog and all the other Link-Up bloggers. Thanks!