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  • Christopher Thompson

An Interview with Dr. Doran

Dr. Sandra Doran has served as an educator, administrator, and a writer for more than 35 years. Dr. Doran is the author of mo a dozen books, including the new Pacific Press release, Updraft. I had the privilege of catching up with her for a brief interview about her 4 PM Friday seminar.

CT: If you could sum up your presentation in one sentence What would that sentence be?

Sandra Doran: Understanding learning styles not only helps us to be more effective with children, it makes us more appreciative of those we interact with at church, work, and within the family.

CT: Now I started my ministry as a teacher in Carolina Conference and I remember all of those 4-MAT training sessions, but for someone who doesn’t know what learning styles are could you boil it down to a few sentences?

SD: Each of us learns in unique ways. Some people are more reflective and like to think things through before acting. Others like to dive right in. Some people prefer to memorize facts while others learn by making their own mark.

CT: Now, obviously we want teachers to ensure that the learning environment utilizes enough unique and creative learning experiences that all children are properly engaged, but you said this is useful in church, work, and family time. How so?

SD: When you understand learning styles, you begin to value those on the church board whose contributions are different from yours. For example, you may be anxious to dive into a project and feel that a church member is being too picky about the details. With an understanding of learning styles, you grow to value the diverse perspectives of those on the team. Similarly, in a marriage, you begin to realize that your spouse’s differences complement what you bring to the table, resulting in a more balanced approach.

CT: I love this!!! So how would we come alongside someone who we’re not connecting well with; whether it’s a learner in the classroom or a cantankerous board member? How do we make a connection?

SD: We take a step back and think about what it would be like without their contribution. What do they have to offer that adds to a complete team. We need all 4 quadrants: the reflective, intuitive Quadrant 1; the reliable, stable, detail oriented Quadrant 2; the practical, goal-oriented, hands-on Quadrant 3; the visionary, risk-taking Quadrant 4. If one of these Quadrants is missing, the end-result will suffer.

CT: This is excellent! Last question. It has two parts though. How did you get into learning and teaching about learning styles, and why are you so passionate about this work?

SD: I was introduced to learning styles by Gene Brewer, the Superintendent who recruited me to be an associate supt of Ed for the Florida Conference in 2002, a position I held for 15 years. I quickly grasped the significance of what he taught me and have shared it with hundreds of teachers. It is my goal to foster environments where all children are honored for the uniqueness God has gifted them with. And of course, this goes for adults as well.

CT: I remember Gene Brewer! He came and did a presentation for our Home & School Association in Beaufort back in 2004. He will always be a legend to us.

SD: Great man!

CT: Thank you for taking time to talk to me, and thank you so much for all that you do.

SD: Thanks for your interest in all this!

—Christopher C. Thompson

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