How I Learn: Annmarie Miles

Annmarie is a life long student with a Hons Degree in Theology and is currently studying for her Masters in Applied Theology. A Dub living in Kildare Annmarie loves music and song. AnnMarie also loves to write and has her own blog over at Auntyamo Annmarie can be found tweeting from @auntyamo

I’m not a teacher but I am a student ; an old one. I have an Hons. Degree in Theology and I am half way through a Masters in Applied Theology. How I learn? Well do you remember that old tune... “Every time I try to tell you the words just came out wrong. So I’ll have to say I love you in a song....”? Well that’s how I learn. All my life I’ve only ever been able to remember information if I put it to music. Irish poems in Primary School, Ireland’s rivers and mountains in 5thyear Geography, dates in church history for my BTh – all set to music in my head.

Music has always been a big part of my life. My happiest memories include music. Maybe that’s why for me, learning is so much more enjoyable and DOable when music is involved. I only have to hear a song once or twice and I know it. Not just a vague idea of the tune, I can sing it back to you and I’ll have most of the words rolling around my head too. It just sticks!

I have a terrible aversion to numbers. I CANNOT hold numbers in my head! Even if I’m knitting, I’ll count the lines after every single line, as I will not remember what the count was after the last line. Hence, singing times-tables in school is the only reason I’m able to count! The best way to describe the way I see numbers is that they are a second language to me. There’s a little phrase that goes around our family... “Did you get the maths thing?” There are those in my family that ‘got’ the maths thing and those who ‘got’ the music thing. And then there’s the blessed few who got both. I only got the music. My well worn reply to any question about numbers is, “I don’t know the answer, but I could write you a song... would that help?”
In the context of the purpose of these guest posts, it’s probably not a conducive style of learning. I remember watching that scene in the School of Rock for the first time and I laughed my head off. It’s the nth degree of singing the times table really, and there are probably more children who wouldn’t want to sing than there are who struggle with numbers. It’s probably a niche style, but I’m sure I’m not the only one! Maybe it could be incorporated in some way for pupils who struggle with lists and/or dates. Some helpful tunes are My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music, Nelly the Elephant and Camptown Races. More modern songs that are good for this are I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, The Penguin Song (Wait) by Paddy Casey.

To the teacher who sang my times tables with me, all I can say is... thank you for the music!

And to you reader, so long... farewell :)

Wise words today? Any students, teachers or parents interested in writing a guest post for Anseo A Mhúinteoir should send their posts to 

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