In discussing intervention techniques for students who may have dyslexia, the video harkened back to our old friend, multiple Intelligences. Multiple Intelligences were all the rage 30 years ago, and I had some special training in the area when I was with the Oklahoma City Public Schools. I even trained district teachers in the subject for a while. In fact, when I plan my lessons, I do still think about the variety of learners and how they learn differently. In the training video about dyslexia that teachers watch, there is discussion of visual and auditory learning specifically. There was also mention of some students with dyslexia appearing to have attention problems.
What happened on that Sunday morning, from the pulpit's point of view, was that the children in the pews were restless as usual until I came to the narrative about Solomon. At that point, when the story began, I had every child's undivided attention. It didn't matter that they may not understand the implications of the Old Testament story: they were enthralled with its telling. It didn't matter if they were dyslexic or if they possessed attention deficits: their eyes were on me until the end. It didn't matter if they were defiant children (They aren't.) or had behavior disorders (They don't.): they paid attention to the narrative.
It all then brought me deeper understanding of the training videos I played later in the day. My own consideration of different learning styles (Multiple Intelligences) and my 30 years of teaching kids 10 and under, have helped me develop a lesson delivery style that includes storytelling. Whether I am introducing myself at the beginning of the year, presenting a scenario for a science experiment, performing a read-aloud, or delivering a history lesson about the 17th or 18th centuries, I know that a little drama, some variance in my vocal inflection, more variety in the rate of speech, as well as the quality and the volume of my voice all come together to keep my class's attention and cater to many of their preferred methods of learning. Sometimes, a good story even breaks up our day with humor or emotion, even when its main purpose leaves the academic world for just a moment.
I find it hard to teach, or preach, in one place, using a monotonous voice and reading from a script. Instead, I try to break free and bring lessons to life for my students. When it works, it works well, and the lesson is effective as well as memorable. It was refreshing to see the mention of Multiple Intelligences in the dyslexia training, and I know, with all the troubles in the world today, my students are going to thrive on the distractions of good stories as we enter the new school year.