The Perfect Learner An Expert Debate on Learning Styles In reading “The Perfect Learner an Expert Debate on Learning Styles” by Martin Delahoussave, I found the debate to be insightful and informative. The researcher made some good points about learning styles and how we should utilize them. According to my reading of learning styles, I discovered that models focus on the process of learning, that is, how students absorb and think about information.
The learning styles theory addresses the differences in the process of learning and the ifferent ways students feel and think as they solve problems, construct or create, and interact in groups. Most educators agree that the student’s strengths and abilities should be addressed, but disagree on how to put the theory into practice. Some call for some type of assessment of each student’s learning style and then an appropriate teaching method for the individual. Others believe that students should be assessed and equated with teachers having similar learning styles.
Still others alert us that current tests are technically inadequate and using them may actually arm students, because they may result in improper labeling of the student’s learning styles. According to Kolb, “Few if any, individual-difference tests can measure an individual with complete accuracy. ” (Kolb p. 30) Salton states that “Unless you know how strong a commitment people have to that strategy, style knowledge can be misleading. ” (Salton p. 31) The above statements from the researcher prove that we should be careful when using their tests to determine student’s learning styles.
Curry states, “That some tests have “design flaws” and earning styles should be linked to environment. ” (Curry p. 31) The debate makes us aware of the different learning styles tests that can be used to discover the way a student learns. The comment that caught my attention was “The way the individual is measured is not critical. The important part is we start the dialog with the student and get them thinking about the way he or she learns best. Even if the measurement is not 100 percent accurate, going through this process will heighten awareness and increase the probability of success. (Daly p. 1) This comment made an impression on me because students, especially those at the high school level, might not know the technical term for the way they learn, but they know what it takes for them to understand certain concepts. One of my students, who was recovering from a head injury, manifested his verbal learning style by asking frequent questions and taking very complete notes. Another student, very effectively used his linguistic learning style to aggravate members in any group activity, which allowed him to work on his own, his real desire.
Teaching in todays society requires one to have a view of the whole student. We must be prepared to deviate from the way we were taught and be diverse in our teaching strategies, sometimes at a moment’s notice. So, what are the obstacles to utilizing diverse teaching strategies? Dave Kolb states, “l would name learners who do not understand the learning process and how they learn and do not take responsibility for their own learning, and teachers who teach based on how they were taught and assume that everyone learns the way they do. ” (Kolb p. 5) Our istrict requires our lesson plans in Madeline Hunter format, which can seem rigid, but can be expanded to include diverse types of input, modeling, resource materials, and activities. To reach visual and verbal learners, we may use models, repetitious speech, and mnemonic devices. Bodily-kinesthetic learners might enjoy rhythmic chanting and clapping of mathematical rules. Although I cannot address all learning styles in every lesson, my students quickly catch on that I will address theirs. For some this knowledge is enough to keep them engaged.
Unfortunately, I do see many students who do not take responsibility for their learning. One student, a female athlete and verbal learner, was never prepared to learn; she daily forgot crucial materials. Even though I tried to relate math to basketball, she never tried to relate to the topic. If I have a similar student this year, I may use technology to have him/her look up sports statistics and find out how these statistics were derived. Many of my colleagues do not see the need for diversity. They do not even see the need for technology in the mathematical field.