Instincts drive all actions, reactions and interactions – including individuals’ modes of learning:
- Some kids react positively to repetition of information – others tune out
- Some kids respond with lots of details – others ignore them
- Some kids interact tangibly to internalize information – others are hands-off
- Some kids actively add to discussions, others sit silently
We can see the differences among kids, both in classrooms and in homes, yet few educators and parents know how to nurture such a variety of learning modes. It is especially tough to help youngsters learn in ways that force you to work against your instinctive grain.
Instinct-based education doesn’t require that teachers or parents change their natural ways of taking action. It requires understanding the natural impulses that drive how each student learns best– and providing options that help them learn to trust those instincts.
“Trust your instincts,” is, after all, what we tell our kids to do in order to stay out of danger. Shouldn’t we help them figure out what that means?
Research has shown that instincts drive passive thoughts and emotions into action in the part of the brain known as conation. The goal is for kids to “Get Conative” – which means to get into their strongest conative or work-oriented gear.
How can a teacher or parent help kids trust their individual instincts when a classroom or family could include many combinations of 12 different instinctive strengths?
5 Steps for Success with Instinct-based Education
- Enable kids to discover their personal instinct-based strengths through valid assessments of them.
- Explain your own instinctive strengths as you use them, role modeling the benefits of being free to act on personal strengths.
- Help youngsters figure out how to adapt to your way of teaching/parenting, thereby instilling respect for your conative M.O. or instinctive methods, as well as teaching creative problem solving as a means of dealing with similarities and differences.
- Give youngsters permission to try alternative ways of initiating actions, helping them experience the benefits of getting into the right gear. For educators, this should include in-class projects and homework assignments. For parents, it should include family projects and the time/place/process they use to do homework.
- Have youngsters rate their experiences with the process, as well as the results, in order for them to learn the effectiveness of trusting their instincts.
Encouraging students to ask for options based on their instinctive needs makes them responsible for maximizing their strengths. Letting them know you will assist them in self-managing their instinct-based strengths makes them aware that you recognize the equality and significance of their natural conative abilities.