Laurie Laird, M.Ed., Education Director of New Haven
New Haven Female RTC
For the past couple of years the teachers at New Haven Residential Treatment Center have embraced a philosophy of teaching called Quantum Learning. Quantum Learning is a body of learning methods and philosophies that integrate how the brain organizes information and includes immediate classroom implementation. The methodology of Quantum Learning takes research-based best practices in education into a unified whole, making content more meaningful and relevant to students' lives. The goal of Quantum Learning is to integrate learning and life skills, resulting in students who become effective lifelong learners - responsible for their own education.
The Quantum Learning Design Frame that drives the presentation and facilitation of content was formulated from many years of research on effective delivery methods and is the structural frame upon which content is designed to ensure student mastery. As a school, we have implemented the Quantum Learning approach in our classrooms. This has been achieved through a number of different activities and methods. We have focused mainly on VAK teaching which we felt encompassed the best of what Quantum Learning had to offer.
VAK stands for visual, auditory and kinesthetic. All individuals have a certain learning modality for which they have a preference. Each student in the classroom will prefer one of these methods of receiving information more than another. If instruction in the classroom matches their preferred modality, they are more likely to remember and effectively process information.
First, the students completed a modality survey which highlighted their areas of preference. Next, the teachers also completed the VAK modality preference to discover which style they preferred. Teachers are most likely to teach according to the modality they themselves prefer so it is important for each teacher to know which style they rely most on in the classroom. Based on these areas of preference, each department implemented different strategies and techniques to better facilitate student learning.
Below are some of the comments from the teachers on using the quantum learning methodology:
- "I have had the most success as I have tried to bring in more kinesthetic activities in the classroom, although they have also been the hardest to incorporate. It is more difficult to make social studies a hands-on activity, but by giving students the opportunity to move around, they seem to have enjoyed and benefited from the additional kinesthetic activities.
- "Playing review games demonstrate different strategies which help the students enjoy what they are learning and help them recall the information they have previously learned. They laugh and hopefully find math more fun. They get to interact with each other in a positive way, instead of just doing math worksheet one after the other.
- "By using the VAK styles, I have been able to assist students in better comprehension and memorization of the materials. The students seem to really enjoy the activities and get more out of them than if they were simply reading silently or answer questions from a book.
- "By using the VAK styles in English class, I have been able to assist students in better comprehension and memorization of the materials. The students seem to really enjoy the activities and get more out of them than if they were simply reading silently or answer questions from a book.
- "Quantum Learning emphasizes the practical application of brain research in the learning process. Because I now better understand how the brain codes memory, I can teach science in a way that helps students remember new information. I have learned how often, when and in what way to repeat new concepts to significantly improve the chances that students will retain the information. I also teach my students some of what I have learned about the brain to help them to realize why certain study habits are important.
Quantum Learning provides teachers with a number of methods to engage students in a visual sense, an auditory sense and a kinesthetic sense. By utilizing these techniques and bringing more VAK strategies into the classroom, we have attempted to better meet the needs and learning strengths of our students to help them become stronger academically.