My second son, who is 9, was reluctant to get on with a KUMON maths sheet this week, despite his success in recently mastering his times tables, and achieving his KUMON Bronze award. As I am curious to gain insight into his learning style, with a view to unlocking his creativity, I asked him what he found off-putting about his KUMON sheet. His reply was fascinating. He said, "It's not in colour".
I am aware that there has been research published recently which suggests dyslexic learners respond better to a particular colour of paper - or is it ink? Either way, colour is significant. I asked my son whether he liked doing his more colourful maths workbook. "Yes," he said and, indeed, he got that book out and worked through a page or two of his own initiative today. It made me think about the black and white appearance of the pages in many reading books, in contrast to the colourful comic strip stories - Tintin and Asterix, for example - which this son prefers.
In his talk, blogged below, Ken Robinson shares an interesting quote from choreographer, Gillian Lynne, who described to him how she felt arriving at dance school: "I can't tell you how wonderful it was. We walked into this room, and it was full of people like me, people who couldn't sit still, people who had to move to think."
Whether a child needs to move to think, or to listen to music, or to see things in colour ... How do we find and unlock the key to that child's creative potential? Any system - school or KUMON - however good they claim to be, will always be limited if they continue to purport a one-size-fits-all learning solution.