Education

Students Have Different Thinking Speeds. Inclusive Teaching Means Realizing That.

Many classroom environments favor a certain kind of thinker, usually the students who are quick to recall a fact when the instructor asks a question. But that’s not the only type of mind, and it’s not even always the best kind of mind for learning.

“Research has shown that shy learners—the ones who sit in the back and they don’t really say anything—they can be slower learners, but they’re actually the most flexible and they can be the most creative problem solvers,” says Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University who works at translating the latest brain research into practical advice for teachers and learners. She even has a book she co-authored on the topic, called “Uncommonsense teaching: Practical Insights In Brain Science to Help Students Learn.”

And she argues that teachers should think about the diversity of thinking styles they have in their classrooms—and she has some tips on how to make adjustments for it. It’s actually good advice for understanding how those around us might see the world differently.

For this week’s EdSurge Podcast, we talk with Oakley about why she thinks inclusive teaching means understanding the variety of learning speeds and styles of students.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts, or use the player on this page. Or read a partial transcript below, lightly edited for clarity.

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