By David Veling
During the years that I coached high school baseball, the vast majority of my time and energy was devoted to creating effective plans for practice sessions. While my less experienced Junior Varsity players, some of whom had never actually held a bat, were eager to charge right into playing, it was my job to redirect their energy into careful, step-by-step skill building. Similar to novice ball players, desperate to hit their first home run, young people who yearn for the excitement of a first job or an internship in their dream field, are more likely to realize these opportunities for success with structured, well-balance exposure to the necessary skills. The use of multiple-modalities of learning (visual, aural, and kinesthetic) is a crucial component to structuring the successful development and retention of skills across all domains of learning.
While most people would be quick to acknowledge that batting instruction delivered solely in lecture format would be of minimal benefit, the realization that the kinesthetic practice of a swing also results in incomplete development of the skill is perhaps less intuitive. Similarly, interviewing skills are hardly ever taught through just reading tips on how best to interview, but adopting a truly more multi-modal approach also requires going beyond mock interviewing to include visual reinforcement of positive body language and appropriate dress.
The Signal Success curriculum is intentionally multimodal in its design and delivery, and the outcome is that students not only acquire a knowledge of new skills, but also an ability to apply skills successfully across contexts. Current research supports the effectiveness of multi-modal and interactive instructional formats. When youth are encouraged to activate background knowledge in writing and discussion, evaluate visual and written representations of professionalism, and problem-solve case studies and teambuilding challenges they gain the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge to novel situations and reflect on their learning.
The chart below provides some tips for multi-modal approaches to resumes and collaboration- common college and career readiness topic:
Many of the skills necessary to acquire and maintain employment, like initiative, dependability, communication, and collaboration, must be learned and transferred from one setting to the next and multimodal instruction facilitates this acquisition and transfer. Whether in baseball or life, most youth are eager to get in the game, but their ability to hit the winning home run or land the dream job is heavily dependent on the targeted and strategic development of critical skills.