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Hello, lifelong learners! I’m excited to get started exploring the ways we learn differently. I hope it will lead us to appreciate the way we learn and the ways others learn as well.
As you read the next few posts, I hope you ask yourself questions like these: Is this how I learn? What tips can I take to enhance my learning? Whom do I know who learns this way? How can I encourage them to use their skills as they grow? Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a colleague, or a friend, we can become better learners and equip others to do the same.
First up: intrapersonal learners.
Intrapersonal learners are good at looking within themselves. In other words, they are self-aware. If you ask intrapersonal learners about themselves (and you give them time to consider it), they will be able to provide keen insights about themselves and to articulate those insights in deep ways.
How do you know if you are an intrapersonal learner? Well, intrapersonal learners prefer to process information internally. They’re the thinkers. When sitting in the classroom, they may not appear to be participating, but their minds are working full force, reflecting on the lesson of the day.
Gifts of an intrapersonal learner:
In the classroom, these students excel at journal writing, personal research, and self-directed study. Once they have a task, they don’t need outside motivation to keep them going. Their focus will enable them to keep moving on their project. These students have no trouble with self-assessment tools.
Intrapersonal learners are also patient. They’ll take their time to ponder their thoughts while others dive right into discussion. The “still waters run deep” phrase applies here. Midway into a class dialogue, they’ll be ready to contribute, and what they offer will be something that raises the discussion to a new level.
Myths of an intrapersonal learner:
Contrary to some oversimplified personality assumptions, these learners are not inherently “shy.” Other learners may mistake the intrapersonal learner’s willingness to keep quiet as a fear of engaging with others. Intrapersonal learners, however, prefer to process their information and be sure they can articulate it well before they share.
A myth I believed myself was that intrapersonal learners do not enjoy class discussion—or at least the discussion of the more talkative students. I’ve learned through experience that intrapersonal learners often gain much from discussion, but for different reasons than those who “think out loud.” While they do not always engage audibly, they appreciate hearing the thoughts of others—in order to compare those thoughts with their own.
Equipping an intrapersonal learner:
- In the classroom, participation doesn’t have to mean raising a hand. Let students write down their answers first, post to a class forum, or consider questions before class time.
- In the workplace, provide a clear agenda with discussion topics before the meeting. Invite members to follow up with thoughts in an email.
- At home, give an intrapersonal learner time to debrief internally before sharing about a busy day.
- In the classroom, be sure that group projects give specific tasks to members. Structure activity so that small groups provide a workshop to “test out” ideas to a smaller audience.
- In the workplace, encourage personal research before beginning a new initiative.
- In the family, provide one-on-one time so that when the intrapersonal learner is ready to share, they have undivided attention.
Are you an intrapersonal learner? What ways do you love to learn? What tips can you offer those who want to learn more about this learning style? What strategies do you use?
I’d love to hear from you as we continue this learning community!
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The latest from The Lifelong Learner:
Lifelong Learning for Existential LearnersAugust 17, 2016
Lifelong Learning for Naturalist LearnersAugust 2, 2016
Lifelong Learning for Musical LearnersJuly 6, 2016
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A Communal FeastSeptember 20, 2018
The Intellectual Dark Web and YouJuly 10, 2018
Summer Reading for TeachersMay 24, 2018