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Jumpers and Readers

Separating things into two classes is something we in Western culture like to do. Sometimes this works well for us in that some things are black and white, or good and bad. Perhaps primary students can be classified into two groups as well. I'd name these groups jumpers and readers.

Jumpers are those who like to jump right in and try something before reading the directions. These are the folks who assemble their backyard barbecues with nary a glance at the directions. Given their intuitive sense about certain things, such people are often rather successful approaching new learning activities this way. Flight students who are jumpers will listen to a short explanation of a maneuver, but before too long they get itchy to grab that control yoke and fly.

Readers, on the other hand, read the directions (in all six languages, sometimes twice) before assembling their barbecue. They set out the individual components like a forensic anthropologist examining a skeleton, then assemble each piece by the numbers. Flight students who are readers like to know all the details before beginning a lesson. For them, reading is power. It's knowledge by noun.

Whether a student is a jumper or reader, it's always helpful to know which learning strategy a student is using. Before your students begin flight training, ask what strategy they'd use to assemble a barbecue. Better yet, grill them (sorry) about which strategy best describes their approach to learning. Who knows, you might learn more than just how your student learns. You might learn that, during all those years of backyard barbecuing, you shouldn't have been throwing the meat on the hot coals and resting the grill on top of the chops.

By Rod Machado

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