We all have one. You know the type – one of those great, big, loose, baggy jumpers (or sweaters, if you prefer) that we just love to wear because it is so comfortable. Is learning a bit like a big, baggy ‘one-size-fits-all’ jumper that is wide enough to suit everyone and anyone? Some people think so…but I don’t. Hear me out on this one!
Anyone who knows me will know that I am a big fan of huge, baggy jumpers and oversized hoodies. In fact, if you ever happen to work with me in person or online, you will usually see me sporting one of my Emerald Education hoodies (in a range of my brand colours, of course!) because I need to feel comfortable in my work clothes as well as letting the world remember my little tutoring business. I feel comfort and familiarity when I pull on one of my hoodies. It makes me feel safe and secure, like wearing my work uniform. This projects a fairly accurate image of me, my personality and my business branding out there into the big world – relaxed, approachable and fun. These big baggy sweaters are aimed at fitting all different types of people, no matter how big or small, wide or thin you may be. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ is great for sweaters…but not so great for learning!
What is wrong with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach?
Learning is a bit like a big, baggy jumper. Sometimes it is great – who doesn’t love to slouch around in something comfy with loads of room?
But it isn’t always a good fit. Just like that big baggy jumper, learning in a big group or class is not always a good fit for all students. It might just not suit some students. Think of those children who need a little more time to consolidate skills before moving on, or even those children at the other end of the scale who whizz through everything the teacher gives them and need stretching with enrichment tasks. And, of course, there are always students in the class that really struggle to grasp whatever concept the teacher is presenting. Do you get the picture? What if you need something more tailor-made for you? Something that REALLY fits you and that you are comfortable with? That’s exactly what Emerald Education offers. We can help you find the ways the YOU learn best, starting from where YOU are at. Many big tuition companies have predetermined programmes and slide students into whatever point is appropriate for their age and stage in school. They then work through the programme in order, regardless of whether it a=is an area they struggle with or not. Unlike some of those other tuition services, we focus on individuals and their learning styles, finding the perfect, tailor-made fit for you – no big, baggy ‘one-size-fits-all’ jumpers required! And we ONLY work on those areas that you REALLY need help with – what is the point in giving you work that you can already easily do?!
BUT… this is my comfort zone – what is wrong with staying in this place?
While a big baggy sweater can represent comfort and familiarity in learning, there are compelling reasons why stepping outside our comfort zones and striving for a tailor-made fit in learning can lead to more significant growth and fulfilment. Here’s why:
We should always strive to expand our horizons and deepen our understanding.
Learning should be a journey of exploration and discovery, not just about staying within the confines of what we already know. By venturing beyond our comfort zones, we open ourselves up to new perspectives, diverse knowledge, and unexpected connections. This ultimately means that instead of always going forwards in learning, we can sometimes benefit from ‘going wide’ and enriching our learning beyond a basic level of understanding. An example of this might be learning about the mechanics of adding and subtracting fractions by working though different example and then enriching our learning by working on real-life problems and solving them by applying what we have learned previously.
We should aim for enhanced creativity and learn how to improve our problem-solving skills.
When we challenge ourselves with new concepts and move into unfamiliar territory in learning, we stimulate our minds in ways that foster creativity and innovation. In other words, we learn how to apply what we learned in another situation to a new experience. Grappling with complex ideas and solving unfamiliar problems strengthens our cognitive abilities and enhances our ability to think critically and apply what we know to new situations. This is a great skill to master and shows true depth of understanding.
We want to Increase our self-confidence and resilience.
If we want to succeed, we need to learn to stick with something, even when we find it difficult. Stepping outside our comfort zones inevitably involves facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. As we work our way through these experiences, we develop a sense of self-belief and resilience. Each time we stretch beyond our comfort zone, we reinforce our belief in our own ability to learn, grow, and overcome any problems that come our way. This is exactly how we learn to stick with it when the going gets tough – another great skill to have when we are studying for exams.
We open the door to greater opportunities and personal fulfilment.
By pushing the boundaries of our knowledge and skills, we expand our horizons and create opportunities by knocking on doors that might otherwise remain locked to us. What does this mean in real life? Well, if you try something outside your comfort zone and find you actually have an aptitude for it, you might well have tapped into a previously undiscovered talent or skill that would have remained hidden if did not have the courage to move outside of your comfort zone. We all suffer from self-doubt, but we should never let this get in the way. Be afraid, be uncomfortable and do it anyway! This newfound growth might open doors to new career paths or new personal interests in your life – and you would not have discovered this if you did not take that leap of faith in the first place!
We all need a tailored approach to learning styles and goals.
Just as a tailor-made suit is designed to fit an individual’s unique body shape, style and fashion tastes, personalised learning caters to specific learning styles, preferences, and goals. We all prefer certain ways of learning over others. My own preference is the visual learning style. I discovered this very much by accident when I was a student teacher. One of my tutors was standing behind me in the room and talking – I found it uncomfortable not being able to see them when they were speaking and it wasn’t until they were in from of me again that I could really focus on what they were saying! Learning style is just one of the many considerations when putting a programme of learning together for each student. When someone starts working with me, I carry out a diagnostic assessment, making sure I am fully aware of where any gaps in learning appear. This guides me to my starting point, and this is where our learning begins. By adopting a tailored approach, we can optimise our learning process, getting the most out of our sessions by increasing our understanding, helping students remember more, and showing them when and how to apply their knowledge to new situations.
So, to sum things up, learning should not be about sticking with that ‘one-size fits all’ approach of being too comfy and cosy where you are, just like in that familiar oversized sweater. Instead, it should be about embracing the transformative power of stepping into the unknown, pushing our limits, and striving to try something new, and different. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong either, because this is ultimately how we learn.
How can Emerald Education help you?
Our style of teaching and tutoring brings smiles to students’ faces when they discover success, find their ‘perfect fit’ in learning and start to shine at school. We offer in-person and online tuition, online courses, books and workbooks. We even provide workshops for exam students. If you are interested in our services – or you are just curious to find out more about us – visit our website at https://emeraldeducationcentrebundoran.com. We look forward to hearing from you!