Learning is a complex process. As a kindergartener getting ready to begin school, I am extremely excited to begin. However there is a lot I’d like you to know before I start. As you help me to learn and advance my brain, there are several important things we need to go over. In this letter, I’ll tell you all about my need for relationships while advancing in my learning, MI and EI and how they’ll help me develop, some biological information that has to do with my learning, how I can best be supported in the classroom, information about learning to read and learning new languages, and some personal words of advice going forward. There’s a lot to go over and I’m excited to learn from you, but before we can start, let’s look into my learning process to help make things as easy as possible.
In my learning, relationships will be extremely important. “Relationship experiences have a dominant influence on the brain because the circuits responsible for social perception are the same as or tightly linked to those that integrate the important functions controlling the creation of meaning, regulation of bodily states, the modulation of emotion, the organization of memory, and the capacity for interpersonal communication.” (Siegel, 2015). Relationships with my caregivers were important early on, helping me develop strong, secure attachments that gave me a good foundation for future relationships. But as I continue in my schooling, I will need relationships with both my classmates and my teachers, and they will need the same. “Building positive relationships within a classroom has a major impact on a student’s academic and behavioral success” (Dealy, 2018).
Individual students and teachers need to have a good relationship where the student believes that the teacher knows them and values them, making them want to participate more and be more involved. The teacher in-turn wants to be respected and listened to, making them feel as what they are teaching is helping the student is really getting through. Student-to-student relationships need to be strong as well. “Healthy peer-to-peer relationships encourage inclusion, participation and make kids feel safe. When kids feel safe in the classroom, they are more likely to take positive risks both academically and socially.” (Dealy, 2018). When children feel more included, they are far more likely to interact in the class and with the other students and teachers.
Knowing this, it makes it clear that my classmates and I need to have a healthy relationship with you as our teacher and with each other. There are plenty of effective ways to foster these relationships just by your teaching methods and in how we as class all react to each other. Keeping a good class dialogue and great class relationships makes for a good learning environment. Everyone can learn better in this safe, helpful situation.
Another way to help create a strong learning environment is by embracing students’ differences, such as their different learning strengths. Multiple Intelligences (or MI) are “eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.” (Armstrong, 2018) The eight intelligences are linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalist. The Multiple Intelligence theory was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner as an alternative to IQ testing because “IQ tests are far too limiting” (Gardner, 1993). It’s a complex and different way to help learn more about oneself.
Emotional Intelligence (or EI) is “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” (Siegel, 2010). In other words, humans use emotional intelligence to see emotions in other people and react to those emotions, as well as realizing each of their own emotions and working through them and working with them. EI is an essential part of realizing what is occurring in your life and allowing you to become a successful social human being.
These two forms of intelligence are extremely key to help students be as successful as possible in their learning. For me in particular, I learn best when my Musical, Body-Kinesthetic, and Social intelligences are worked with, but my classmates can be tested by any one of the multiple intelligences, so all of them should be included in a classroom to keep each child engaged and learning.
Working through all of the MI helps students expand their skills in their weaker intelligences as well. With deeper development in all of their weaker intelligences, they become more diverse learners. Developing children’s individual emotional intelligences is key as well as it allows the student to look at themselves and others and discern more about people and how they feel, helping them become stronger in their knowledge of emotions. Learning requires catering to the students different needs and working with my MI and my classmates’ MI, as well as our varying levels of emotional intelligence greatly enhances learning.
There have been a great number of scientific research findings that have influenced learning and the field of education. We have learned so much about the human brain and how it functions, and it how it grows and learns. We’ve learned a great deal about memory and how the brain remembers things, including Implicit vs. Explicit memory. “Implicit memory involves parts of the brain that do not require conscious, focal attention during encoding or retrieval.” (Siegel, 2015). “Explicit memory is the layer of memory that during recall is coupled with an internal sensation of remembering.” (Siegel, 2015). Understanding how a students’ memory works allows for you as a teacher to help students remember information (through ways like including emotion) for longer periods of time. Another way
There are many ways to help support me in the classroom. As I am still young, I’m still figuring everything out. I’m going to need a lot of help in a lot of different areas. The most important way you can help me is working to help me and my individual classmates is to work with our individual needs. Helping each child, myself included to reach our own individual potential is key.
Using our Multiple Intelligences, different levels of emotional intelligence, and ensuring no child is failing to learn the material allows for us all to be successful. Working through everything in each phase of the multiple intelligences an inspiring good classroom dialogue allows for my learning to be very successful. As I said earlier, I personally need Musical, Body Movement, and Social work to help me learn best, but other students will require different areas of help. Working with me will help me be as successful as possible.
Learning how to read and how to learn a new language are two essential skills students learn very early on. Reading specifically is the beginning of learning all other subjects. It is absolutely essential to get students learning these two subject areas early on. For language acquisition, it is key to get me started on this early. “Children who are exposed to two languages before the age of seven, develop proficiency in both languages.” (Johnson and Newport, 1989). If children begin to learn two languages early on, they have a better shot to master these languages as they age. As a kindergartener, I need this exposure to multiple languages early to give me a better opportunity at knowing more than one language, an important skill.
As a kindergartener, I also need help learning the all-important skill of learning how to read. The ability to read is an incredible talent that must be learned early on. My parents got me started as they should, as a large majority of my early vocabulary comes from them. “86 to 98 percent of a child’s vocabulary consists of words in his or her caregivers’ vocabulary.” (Sousa, 2010). But it shouldn’t stop there. You need to help me really develop my reading skills so that I can learn other subjects such as English, Literature, Science, Math, and many others going forward.
I know that I will be a wild student. I’ll be full of energy and a big personality. I will talk a lot and sometimes be a little disruptive. My classmates will often get caught up in it as well. It will be probably frustrating at times. However, I just need you to do one thing. Don’t close it down. Don’t shoot down mine or anyone else’s enthusiasm. Redirect it. Channel it. Enthusiasm is a wonderful tool. Use the enthusiasm to make the class better. When I’m excited or talking, don’t silence me. Have me talk about the class instead, encourage me to focus my energy on the class rather than shutting down my vigor. Encouraging students to redirect positive energy isn’t something that has happened in the past, often leading to dejected students who don’t enjoy learning and feel as though they should just be quiet and listen. This disengages students and makes them feel invalid, as it made me feel. Change this feeling. Engage the kids and make their energy a positive instead of making them feel like it is a negative.
Students are far too often are put off by their teachers. While this can sometimes be an issue with just the students that the teachers can’t change, this is rarely the case. The teacher can almost always make positive impact and engage their students if they try and work to help meet the students needs rather than have students meet the teachers’ needs.
A teachers’ job should be to help students, and help them really understand material that they need to learn going forward. Disengaged students are often disengaged because a teacher either caused them to lose interest or didn’t do enough to engage them. Students often go into school with a positive attitude and by the time they reach high school (and often even younger), this joy is gone. “Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds or 7,000 a day.” (Miller, 2011). If they had teachers who truly cared about them, the majority of those students never would have left school. My main point in this paragraph is to engage myself and my classmates. Get to know them. Learn what makes us tick and help us use it. Work with us and help us succeed. Though it may make your work a little harder, it’ll make everything easier overall and cause an immensely large positive impact on the students. Make the extra effort, it’s almost always worth it.
In this letter, I’ve addressed how important it is to have good relationships within the classroom, Multiple Intelligences and Emotional Intelligences and how they shape individual education for each student and how science can influence my education. I’ve also talked about how I personally can learn best, learning how to read and learning new languages, and some personal comments on what can be done going forward. I know that you will use this to help both me and my future schoolmates and make my learning experience excellent. One last thing to remember. Every student is different. Always treat them as such, and make sure everyone can use those differences to grown and learn together. The students will be all the better for it.