Any vegetarians here?
Would you like a big juicy steak?

First, my apologies in this delayed issue of content based Promo&News newsletter.

In the last issue, we explored the learning styles of children. If you missed it and would like to see it, then see our back issue page for all the issues sent out so far. Or you can read this newsletter and click on the link at the bottom of this email.

Read the heading of this email again. Does that make sense to you?

Would you offer a steak to a vegetarian? How well do you think that offer will be accepted?

Right. Not at all.

The point is that you are using the wrong tool in your communication. The taste of a well cooked steak is something that a vegetarian won't value. Or worse yet, it's something that they won't understand.

When communicating with anyone, you need the right tools. This is where metaphors come in.

Metaphors allow us to enter the world of the person with whom we are trying to communicate. You could have the greatest idea or advice, but if you are not speaking their language, your chances of getting through are zero.

Here is a simple real-life example.

When I was teaching a grade 5 class, there was a boy (let's call him "Bobby") who was very much into soccer, but hated writing.

Give him any assignment with a written component and his brain would shut down. I just couldn't get anything out of him. That is until I tried something out of a hunch.

The reasoning was that I would try to relate to him the components of writing using something that he understood and loved. Soccer.

I explained to him that writing wasn't that much different from soccer (a funny look from Bobby here).

In soccer, there was a purpose (to score goals) and in writing there was a purpose (to get a point across to the reader).

In soccer, there were obstacles (defense) that you had to maneuver around, and in writing there were obstacles (limits of words and what they mean) that the writer had to maneuver around.

The word "dog" doesn't mean much until you put some other maneuvers (words) in a specific sequence, not much different from soccer moves.

In the end, I manged to relay to him that writing was much like being a coach or a star player of a soccer team. You had a purpose, obstacles and maneuvers that you must execute. When all was done well, you would achieve the goal.

I wasn't sure if I had reached him or not, but his assignment proved that he understood. Though not perfect, he showed remarkable improvement in his writing with more details and understanding than he had throughout the year.

Just in case you were wondering, the writing assignment that he had to write was on his Popsicle stick bridge that he had built for his science project.

The beauty of using metaphors is two fold.

One, it gets easier and easier to use metaphors as you get more practice.

And two, you can use metaphors to link virtually any two or more things together.

Math and surfing? You learn techniques and skills in surfing. Same in math. With the basic techniques and skills, you can do some amazing things.

Sports and art? They can both be expressions of themselves through a medium. You use the tools given to you to get the maximum effect. You wow yourself and wow others. Constant improvement is needed in both cases too. And when done well, satisfaction is guaranteed.

I am sure you get the point.

I hope this has been helpful and opened your eyes on new possibilities in communication with your children (and others).

To get more effect when using metaphors, it would help if you knew their learning styles. But honestly, I personally think that metaphors, when used effectively, has more power than learning styles alone.

I wish you many happy experiments and learning opportunities with your little ones.

See you on the next issue.