Using Patterns to Learn
Many students who have weak language skills appear to do well with patterns. I have observed many students with reading, writing, spelling and math problems who are able to succeed academically because of their ability to learn the information they need to know by finding patterns in the material or by placing that information in to the form of patterns. An example of this is Tic Tac Toe Math which uses visual patterns as an alternative for the memorization of the times tables. Some individuals learn this system very easily and it appears to be because they are able to recognize and remember patterns well. Another example is using the pattern of HTO for understanding and reading large numbers. The pattern of Hundreds, Tens and Ones is easier for some students to remember than to remember the names of the place values such as hundred million, ten thousand etc. In language, I have found that putting the parts of speech into positions which allow students to see the patterns in sentences help them to understand the structure of language. (The Parts of Speech Pattern was included in the July, 1998 Newsletter, Vol.15 No.4) The use of stacking as a spelling technique is another example of how visual patterns in words can be used as a memory aid.

Many individuals are able to use auditory patterns for learning. An example of this is the sequence of tones made when dialing a push button phone. The person knows that the right number has been dialed because it sounds correct.

Dr. Cooper is interested in information about the use of patterns. If you are an individual who uses patterns to learn or teach, he would like to discuss your experiences and techniques. Please call 1-800-869-8336. Dr. Cooper is collecting examples of pattern learning and teaching for inclusion in an article which he is preparing.