Sustainable learning


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Student learning styles and your own!

AN APPROACH TO LEARNING STYLES

Did you know that we all have different learning styles?  To be honest, I had no idea.  Or to be more accurate, I knew there were different learning styles, but I expected there were so many different kinds that there wasn’t much point trying to get my head around them.

However, I recently attended a training workshop which helped us teachers work out which learning style suited us.  The session was based on Neil Fleming’s VAK (later expanded to VARK) approach to learning styles.  As such, our session focused on only three different learning styles: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic.*  We did a survey which led to some statistics (always a little skeptical of such things) which would help us identify our stronger learning styles.  For interest’s sake, I’ll disclose that I was strongly in favour of both Visual and Auditory, whereas Kinaesthetic was almost non-existent.

HOW THIS CAN HELP IN CLASS

If you find out how you learn, I think it will help you to better understand how your students learn.  I have noticed a couple of students in my classes who have been having trouble learning English at a beginner level.  One of them is a keen basketball player and an un-keen language learner (it would seem).  The other seems to be constantly distracted, checking messages on a mobile phone and wanting to get up and walk around the room.

I guess this screams “kinaesthetic” learners.  The problem as such may have been more from my preference for visual and auditory activities in class, whereas they needed to get moving and do something!

I learned that I need to include some more kinaesthetic activities in my class to balance the learning preferences amongst my students.  I would suggest taking some time to speak with individual students who seem to be having difficulties.  You may be able to gain some insight into why based on the VAK learning styles.

For more information, check out:

http://www.vark-learn.com/

On this website you can  also complete an online questionnaire to find out YOUR learning style.

* – you can spell kinaesthetic with or without “a” which as a visual learner I find a little frustrating.  The “a” is redundant if you ask me and look at the pronunciation /ˌkɪniːsˈθetɪk/.  Hmmm does this suggest that I’m an auditory learner too?

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