by Christina Ivanna
While visiting with a good friend recently, I found myself in a discussion about teaching styles. My friend is a dancer and dance instructor. She often has opportunities to observe the style and instruction methods of other dancers. While we began speaking in terms of dance, we soon were talking about the Louis Braille School and its wonderful individual and child centered style of education.
We all have unique ways of learning and teaching. Some of us are more visual, some more auditory. I believe that within that uniqueness there is a common desire to be provided a nurturing and compassionate learning environment.
This discussion reminded me of my experience with many different styles of teaching while learning to play my harp. Ultimately I had the good fortune to find my present teacher. She always reminds me that all students are different and my distinguishing gift is to create a unique quality of the melody, with intense pauses. She does not stress many of the traditional teachings. She is very skilled, and knows them all, but she has an amazing ability to find that distinct style of a student and work with that. When needed, she points out changes that would be helpful to consider.
For me, it has been a very peaceful, enjoyable learning experience. No more tension and concern about everything else but the heart of the matter.
This has measurably increased my self confidence about playing the harp and in so doing, my enjoyment of playing the harp. For me this is the ideal learning environment.
How amazing to have a teacher who understands boundary issues, while allowing freedom of creativity. Each individual child (or adult) receives the gift of going to his or her place of passion and joy. This will then allow them to use this as their base for learning. I imagine a “Jack and the Beanstalk” type ladder rising from this base, heading up with many a wondrous and new lesson to encounter.
I believe our schoolhouse, with its focus on each child, provides this setting. The children are exposed to lessons about important behavior out in the world. Our teachers work daily to provide an open, supportive, creative, and fun place for the children to spend their time while learning many useful lessons.
I have been having these same discussions about learning and teaching styles with folks as I am out and about in Edmonds. Many of our friends in the community are interested in what is happening at our school. They appreciate the special focus and unique teaching methods taught at the school. We all agree that the support and fun included within the lessons is what helps the children have many useful experiences.
There is something amazing about being accepted where you are, and then lovingly shown new ideas. How wonderful to think possibilities, instead of corrections!
Christina Ivanna is the Louis Braille School Outreach and Support Administrator
Phone: 425 778-2384 or email