Try a Different Approach #30GoalsEdu

Goal 24: Try a Different Approach of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators! Click the link to find out more about the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

“A well-beaten path does not always make the right road” ~ Proverb

Learning is tough for our students. Many will feel as if they are hitting a brick wall even if they try their best. Math was one of those subjects that was especially tough for me. I would study for 5 to 9 hours a night sometimes and forgo sleep. In my house, anything less than an A was not acceptable so that was my drive. However, many of our students do not have the drive, energy, or motivation to study for a subject for hours until they get it. They also don’t need to. Working with so many teachers online has showed me that it wasn’t necessarily math I struggled with, but it was in the way I approached the subject. I had only learned one way to do math, which was to work it out on paper from a textbook but I never understood what I was doing or tried to visualize it. My sister teaches math using visual aids like cubes and boxes. I think if I had approached math in this way I would have struggled less with it, because I am a visual learner.

As teachers, we have the ability to ease the learning journey for our students. First, we need to see which students are struggling with the subject. Many students will never tell us about the struggle, but will just give up. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that they are embarrassed or feel dumb. When we walk in our classrooms we should observe our students and look for physical signs they are struggling with the material. Often, just looking at their faces during a test or while they are working will give us some insight. Grades are another indicator.

From here, we have to thread lightly. They will not easily admit they are struggling so we have to get them to trust us so they open up. Then it’s a good idea to have our students describe to us the steps they go through when they are approaching the material. Sometimes, our students do not realize what kind of learners they are. It might just be in the approach and you may have to get them to try different approaches till they find the one that makes sense for them. At the beginning of the year, I like for my students to fill out various learning surveys. These surveys help our learners discover how their brain works and it makes them reflect on their learning so they become more autonomous learners.

I bookmark learning inventories I come across in my PearlTrees bookmarks! Click on any of the links to view the resource.

Learning Inventories in Back to School / Shelly Sanchez Terrell (shellyterrell)


Short-term– Get your students to open up about their approach to tough material. Then help them try a different approach that is best suited to their learning style.

Long-term– Through out the year try diversifying the design of learning materials so that students are able to learn your subject matter in various ways. Millions of multimedia resources have been designed for all subjects online and are free! Sometimes, we just have to embed these resources or provide links to them.

Important News


Help your students find an easier way to approach your subject matter.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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