Empowering the Unique Learner

Empowering the Unique Learner

02/05/2018

When it comes to education, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We all interpret the world differently so, in turn, uniquely discover unfamiliar aspects of it. This truth is a core part of Fortune educator Michael Logan’s approach to teaching. “The different styles of learning is beautiful because I learn at the same time,” he notes.

Michael is a lifelong learner. As a tech enthusiast, he is fascinated by the latest advancements, all of which challenge his imagination to grow:

“I’m just an all-out techie. I don’t know where I got it from but gadgets and creative things…give me personally a sense of expression. I can express myself beyond my imagination, and that’s what I also want for the young adults: Express yourself beyond imagination.”

Michael Logan, Instructor at The Fortune Society

To transcend: It’s what every individual with justice involvement needs to do, in order to find success in a society that all too often marginalizes and stigmatizes them. Perseverance and self-determination are vital—daily, Michael imparts this to his students.

“First of all, I tell them not to give up,” he says, “Whatever you do, don’t give up. There’s always a way to achieve your goals. And it may not be the traditional way, because you learn different.”

 

Over the years, Michael Logan has seen student after student gain confidence once they uncover that they are unique instead of incapable. It can be challenging at first, but the results significantly outweigh the struggle. Michael recalls a particularly touching memory:

“Me and [one student would] go at it all time. [He was] a person who struggles with education but doesn’t struggle with explaining himself. So, when we finally learned each other—because it’s a learning curve—I learned that his verbal skills are very excellent. So, what I did was we did a science fair and we talked about drugs where each young adult had his own station. [This student] made me so proud. He sat there and explained in detail…”

A participant explaining his project at the Fortune science fair.

Understanding that class work may not have been his strength but public speaking was helped this student reimagine his potential. And for student with difficult pasts, that awareness is transformative.

This also resonates personally for Michael. He knows what it’s like to accept past transgressions but also acknowledge the power to move forward. “I share my story of a person who overcame those obstacles,” he notes, “I’m still teaching. I’m still doing other things that I want to do. I cleaned up my past. There are a lot of things that I did that I’m not happy I did…but they actually made me who I am today.”

Confident in his life’s story, he empowers his students to be confident in theirs. In fact, he’s in the process of incorporating his love of technology to motivate them further:

“Right now, we’re actually doing a course on digital documentary so they can actually tell their stories, which is important for them because a lot of times they are unable to tell their stories in their own words,” Michael notes, “Not only that, but they are learning how to use professional cameras…”

Creative Arts program teacher Guy Woodard with a Fortune participant

Using his passion to teach and inspire is how Michael soars. And long after they leave his class, he’s proud to see his students soar on their own: “After you get to let them go, you are so proud of them,” he says.

“You get to see them later on and they say ‘because of you, I’m successful. Thanks for believing in me. Thanks for taking a chance on me. And thanks for understanding that I learn differently.”

 

Michael Logan, Instructor at The Fortune Society


*Article by David Leon Morgan

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