My last name is Teixeira. It’s one of those names no one understands and it causes massive confusion at the DMV, on the phone, well, pretty much everywhere. It’s a doozie, and when my kids were little, I had to come up with little tricks to teach them how to say and spell it in case of emergency:
“It’s pronounced TEX like a cowboy, SARAH like a girl.”
“To spell it, you can sing the Old McDonald song and replace the O with an A. Let’s try it! Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-A!“
And there were more. Many, many more. God bless those kids, because I think I made up a song for everything from vocabulary to bedtime to Nana and Grandpa’s real names. I remember they thought I was crazy when I would force them to sing, but to this day, they remember it all. My poor teen is mortified enough that I am teaching him to drive, but then I make him sing “Left and right and Left again!” to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb, and he could just positively DIE of embarrassment. But hey, it will achieve 2 things for me. First, he will never forget to look left, right, and left again and secondly, when he is 85 years old, every time he turns he will think of his mother. AS HE SHOULD.
Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
We all learn differently, but you must be involved to make it stick. When you find a way that works for you, whether it’s writing things down repeatedly, flash cards, word association, or a song, involving yourself in learning is critical to retaining information. Recently I was writing the subtitles for our American Sign Language tutorial, and it occurred to me that it was a great example of tactile or kinesthetic learning. To remember the signs, you had to physically do them, creating a new neural pathway. And now it is so cool to know that I have the communication basics if I meet someone who is hearing impaired.
One of the things I love best about our videos is the ability to stop and start, so you can work at your own pace. And the instructors involve you in the process of learning through examples so you can actually follow along on your computer to learn a new Excel trick, remember quick and easy lists for preparing a meeting, or say thank you in sign language.
Let someone know in ASL “YOU ROCK!”
Whatever way you learn best, just never stop. It’s so exciting to improve an existing skill or learn a new one. Teach yourself a sign or even better, try singing… seriously… it works. Start with your next left turn… you’ll see!
Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible,