Guest posts

From Expat Since Birth

Giving the classroom a good VAK - post for Expatsincebirth

Giving the classroom a good VAK (a brief introduction to the VAK model of Learning Styles)

What is VAK?

VAK is learning style model created by Neil Fleming in 1987 which grew out of earlier neuro-linguistic programming models. Space doesn’t allow going into detail but simply, this theory works on the assumption that learners have a preference for one of three specific learning styles:

  • Visual learners absorb information best through pictures. Visual aids such as slides and diagrams suit them perfectly. These are the bookworms and often hate music playing in the background as it disturbs them. “I get the picture.”
  • Auditory learners learn best through listening. They respond best to lectures and tape recordings and so on. These learners may enjoy having music on in the background while studying or memorise facts through song and mnemonic sentences. “I think that sounds OK.”
  • Kineasthetic or tactile learners learn through experience. Science projects, experiments and work involving ‘hands-on’ activity are most successful for these learners. These types are often the ones found repeatedly copying out facts they need to remember before tests. “This feels right to me.”

This model of learning styles was widely adopted by state schools in the nineties and continues to be one of the bedrocks of British educational practice today. Schools throughout the country use VAK on a daily basis. School inspectors (OFSTED) look for evidence that teachers are catering for all three types of learners in their classrooms. Terminology changes (VAK is also known as VARK and VAKT for instance) and different models are adapted from time to time, but they often amount to pretty much the same thing which is probably why VAK has proven so enduring.

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From Life in Russia

On Being a Brit - Life in Russia

On Being a Brit in Bangladesh (and back!)

My family and I first came to Bangladesh in 2006. We immediately fell in love with the country, its people and their culture. By October 2008 we had moved there to live. We worked for a Non-Government Organisation called LAMB and lived in the grounds of the complex based in the poor and rural area of Dinajpur in the northwest.

Primarily a health and development project, my wife ran the Rehab therapy department and I taught O level Maths and Science at the English Medium school. During the five years living there I began writing professionally and turned full-time as freelance writer earlier in 2013. Both our children went to the same school where I taught.

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From Black Box Warnings

Black Bow Warnings - The Disease

The Disease

I don’t know how we caught the disease but we did.

We were a normal family but then, four years ago, we moved to Bangladesh to do voluntary work . Maybe it was there we caught it? From a dirty tap, perhaps? From unwashed hands? From eating too many chillies? All I know is, one minute we had nothing wrong with us and the next we had…ADHD.

For those of you who may not know the term, the letters stand for: Attention DeficitLook! Squirrel! (Boring old text books tell you the last part is Hyperactivity Disorder but they’re wrong…). It is a terrible disease and we are cursed.

We must be because that’s what people tell us. With so many writing books on how to ‘fix’ it and so many disapproving looks from people when ADHD is mentioned in connection to my family, they just can’t all be wrong, can they? After all, no one likes to unjustly criticise or judge others harshly. Surely?

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From Writer’s Bucket List

Writers Bucket List - Opportunity Surfing

Opportunity Surfing

You’ve got your writing plan sorted, right? Some version of a short, medium, and long-term plan. Short-term might be to get three chapters of your book written this month, or send off ten queries to editors this week. The medium plan might be to send your book proposal out to fifty publishers in the next six months. The long-term might be to double your writing earnings twelve months from now.

Sound right?

Good – but don’t forget to do some surfing on the way.

A few years ago, I interviewed Oscar-nominated British composer/conductor, John Cameron, in his luxurious home. I was surprised to find this busy musician – who has never been out of work in a career spanning more than forty years – never intended to be a composer at all.

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