An accommodating learning style

Many teachers believe that assessing learning styles and teaching to learners’ preferences will improve learning.

But here are four reasons to reject the idea of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles. Neuroscientists say the idea doesn't make any sense Let’s clarify: the idea that some learners are primarily visual, auditory or kinaesthetic, and that learners learn in different ways because of how their brains work is incorrect, even though it originates in valid research.

Listening to what learners want and taking note of this in teaching is useful too.

That’s not because it’s related to learning styles, but because of the learners' previous knowledge – we’re interested in what we already know about.

My colleague Patricia Harries and I surveyed 332 English language teachers in 20 and found that 90 per cent believe that teaching to a learner’s learning style will improve learning. Business interests are getting in the way of evidence Schools pay a lot of money for learning style assessment instruments, training and applying the methods.

There are commercial interests in keeping the idea of learning styles and the meshing hypothesis alive, even when neuroscientists and psychologists insist that it is a ‘neuromyth’.

What the learner knows already has a strong effect on how well they will learn new information.

Learners often express preferences about how they would like to receive information – by reading, hearing or doing - and these are often referred to as 'learning styles'.This in turn helps us learn new things about the topic.Working out how to more effectively help learners use what they already know to learn more is definitely worth pursuing.While it’s true that learners express preferences about how they want to receive information, scientists say this is nothing to do with how the brain works. Learning styles are not consistent attributes The researchers Krätzig and Arbuthnott tried to assign learners as either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners using two methods.The first was asking them to fill in an established questionnaire, which assigned a learning style to each student.

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