Balanced Body COREterly
Teaching & Learning
Effective Teaching through Cueing and Communication Tools
Part 2: Cueing
by Lee Cooper
Cueing is based on speaking to a client in clear, understandable language. Some clients will function in one learning prototype and some in another. Having an idea as to how the client processes the cueing will determine how they assimilate the words offered from the teacher.
Identifying visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners will indicate whether a person is thinking in images, sounds, or through feelings. This enables a teacher to communicate in a way that effectively matches the “thinking mode.” None of this material is engraved in stone and it is important to avoid boxing people into categories. One can, however, consider this an additional tool to be considered in the teaching vocabulary. This information is the premise behind an enormous amount of information found inside Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The information presented in this writing is based on years of teaching experience and the invaluable use of this material that has impacted a personal teaching practice.
There are a number of ways to use a client’s learning “senses” to process instruction. In an effort to simplify, three of these intelligences (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) will be addressed. These are the separate concepts in which an individual takes in information. One of these three descriptions usually serves as a lead system, or personal learning signature*. More often than not, there is an additional system, depending on the individual. Therefore, one can be visual-auditory or visual-kinesthetic, or perhaps process in the moment with all three systems simultaneously.
The point is this: how a client uses a steady and reliable skill from their own learning perspective impacts interpretation of the material. Thus, how information is communicated from teachers can greatly impact the learning period from start to finish. This is reflective as to how a person is thinking—whether in pictures or images, hearing words, or feeling their way through the learning process. How does one get a sense for where the student resides inside the acquisition of knowledge? This is where the fun starts. Without getting too technical, one can take a look at eye mapping, a grid across the eye that follows specific directions, which in turn depicts the learning practice being implemented inside the brain.* Here is where we repeat the phrase ”none of this material is engraved in stone and the potential to box people into certain patterning can be ineffective”. This is merely an interesting approach to gain a deeper insight into a client’s motor learning. The following are examples of these three learning modalities and how the instructor, in relation to observing the student, may interpret each.
Essentially, if an individual has a tendency to spend most of their time looking up, they may think primarily in visual images. Looking up to their left would indicate the client remembering a picture. They may have performed the same movement prior to this particular session and they are “recalling” what it looked like on their body. Or they have seen the movement done by another, perhaps the instructor, and they are trying to see it in their mind’s eye. If they look up to their right, they may be trying to create a picture not yet seen and, in this case, an exercise in their mind and what it could look like for the first time. Perhaps they have never experienced this movement. Or they can remember performing it, but now want the picture to look different, better, or deeper in their vision.
Someone whose eye movements look to the left and right, or horizontal tracking, may process on an auditory level. Again, the left indicates remembering sounds or words, as in cues previously given. The right implies where one constructs or invents vocabulary. In the setting of a Pilates session, there are those who will take verbal cues and be able to transfer, through verbiage, putting together the movement in their minds. Either there is reference to cues already given, eyes moving left, or hearing a cue to process for the first time, eyes moving right.
Then there is the kinesthetic learner, who feels their way through life, or in this case movement. They learn by processing information through a sense of physical sensation. Eye patterns move down to the left to indicate an opportunity to check in with feelings. Moving down to the right is an indication of an internal dialogue, creating an opportunity to mentally verbalize the learning in action. Giving information to this person will be rooted in the movement impressions inside the body. A Short Spine will be interpreted via “feeling” —the spine will return to the carriage as it lowers to the mat, finding length between vertebra through sensation rather than the reasoning behind a cue given or the internal image of the final moments of this exercise. Interestingly, all these cues can be reversed in a left-handed person.*
Each person encountered will most likely be a combination of two or possibly all three of these modes. Some can relate to themselves as being visual-kinesthetic, auditory-visual, or kinesthetic-auditory. There is usually a “lead system”—meaning that one is more prevalent than the other. For example, some students need to see the material first, and then place it inside their bodies to understand what it feels like. Contrary to that is the person who will hear the cue, then rely on a visual demonstration to accomplish the task at hand.
Keeping these three learning modes in mind with the goal returning to motor learning process, there is now another aid to see how assessable patterns of movements can be taught based on the understanding of how a client may be taking the information into their learning modality. This will be especially relevant to the receiving of initial input. It also helps the teacher present the material directly to the eye cues, wrap the presentation around key words, and watch for the way the material is received.
The learning ability is different among each person. Everyone comes to the mat with a personal interpretation when acquiring new information, thus those “measurable events” spoken about in Part I is based on individual thinking abilities when watching a demonstration and then transforming it into performing the action. As stated earlier, performance success is determined by the ability to take in the information. The refining of the movement will come in different stages based on the student’s reliable learning pattern. How they transform a response in the body depends on this application and the job of the teacher will be made easier if there is an understanding of these individual applications. If one is to expect a permanent change, the road to that outcome can be expedited through a teacher’s appropriate cueing based on the way a client processes the information being given.
*References: Bavister, S., & Vickers, A., (2010). Essential NLP. London, England: Hodder Education.