After reading this post, view this wonderful video of how a young man finds his voice with the help of a brave lateral thinking teacher. Without giving away the ending, because it is worth watching, the young man finds his voice with the aid of music.
I have known for some years now that music can aid educational development. In 2004 when I started my university education I struggled with exams and recalling information. Now I know you will say that everyone does this, and you would be correct, but mine was worse that what could be considered normal. I had always had a strong ability to store and recall information. I had demonstrated this many times when giving evidence in my former life as a police officer. So in 2006 I sought some professional advice. This resulted in the discovery of the impact of an injury I had sustained in 1993; that is an acquired brain injury.
Part of the strategy I used to overcome this injury is listening to classical/baroque music while studying. I also studied in chunks and took regular breaks. By 2008, I was able to study for longer, and much to the chagrin of some people, was able to sit for long hours and write my assignments. I also found that when I get stressed I listen to classical and other similar music and find myself relaxing. Combining music with engaging with my dominant learning modality, I completed my degree, my masters, and now I am on the doctoral journey. In doing so, I found myself. I love education and helping people achieve their dreams.
So, as I had been successful, I wondered if I could do for others. So, as I work in a high stress adult learning environment – a police academy – I set out helping others. I developed strategies and a format that after some guidance the adults will be responsible for their learning. This meant that any success they have will be theirs and this is important to me, and them. If they stumbled, I would be there to help them up and set them back on track. Since 2007, I have engaged with literally hundreds of adults and they have developed and graduated to their dream job. So, I still do it for those who want help.
Recently, I was presenting to a group of graduated officers who were back to do a specialist course. One of the senior members of the course expressed concerns about doing the weekly exams. I told him my story and offered to help. He took the advice on board and when I saw him next (as it was a broken course, each week was about 3 weeks apart). I asked him how he was going. He shook my hand vigorously and told him how what I showed had changed him considerably. He was more relaxed and no longer saw studying/reading as a chore.
This is one of many stories where people have engaged with lateral strategies and achieved their dream. Whether it be finding their voice (as in the video), passing all the exams to become a police officer, or just even sitting an exam without throwing up or having a nosebleed – these are the extremes I have worked with. They also represent examples of how engagement with education allowed the adult students to find their voice/themselves and achieve their dreams.
For me, education is more than finding lessons, studies, and exams. It is about finding your voice and achieving your dreams.