Various factors may influence the learning styles of individuals (Riding & Rayner, 2002). These factors include the intelligence, ability, personality and achievement of individuals (Riding & Rayner, 2002). Individuals who are highly outgoing with numerous successful achievements may become more confident in learning than those with introverted personalities. People with introverted personalities may think of themselves as small, therefore, when learning, they may perceive themselves as slow learners even before they begin to learn.
It is believed that when the instructional styles of teachers are matched with the learning styles of the students, maximized learning is most likely the outcome (Claxton & Murrell, 1987). Teachers are advised to adjust their teaching strategies according to their students’ needs. If a student is a slow learner, the teacher is encouraged to slow down his/her pace of teaching to accommodate the student.
Observation itself would not be enough to enable one to acquire a certain learning style (Schmeck, 1988). It takes actual hands-on practice of learning various contents in various settings that individuals get to learn effectively. The beliefs surrounding various learning styles are closely interrelated with numerous types of behaviours among learners which teachers witness among students (Curry, 1983). The belief that an extroverted learner would be proactive in learning usually correlates a positive learning outcome for that student.
Some learners prefer to learn concrete information only (e.g., facts), (Felder & Spurlin, 2005). However, there are learners who prefer to learn abstractions (e.g., theories) only (Felder & Spurlin, 2005). Teachers should be there to encourage students to learn both or either one of concrete and/or abstraction information, if needed to be done so, academically. Teachers must have the persuasive power to encourage students to take part in meaningful and practical learning in the classroom.
My preferred learning style would be the solitary learning style. I do not learn much by seeing objects and persons visually (e.g., studying a map, etc.). I get confused when seeing things visually. This may be attributed to the fact that I have nearsightedness and astigmatism. My nearsightedness and astigmatism are high. It may be possible that my vision is not very good due to these severe defects. Also, I have a problem remembering directions in roads and streets if the directions have taken several twists and turns. I only have an easy time remembering the directions while on the road if the path is going straight without any twists and turns. When learning by myself, I get to spend a lot of time absorbing only facts which I wanted to absorb. Therefore, I get to learn more easily minimizing any complications.
I was not able to use my learning style during my pre-k12 setting. During my preschool years, it was required that I interact with other children and the teachers a lot to gain insightful learning. Learning was based on the conduct of lectures, plays, games and other activities for the young. I needed to participate in the activities to gain the knowledge that I needed to gain. As a preschooler, I knew nothing of the world. I did not even know how to take care of myself. Therefore, I really needed the guidance of others to learn. I could not go to a home schooling program when I was a preschooler in order to apply my solitary learning style as there were no homeschooling programs for preschoolers.
I think it will be ideal for me to assess my students’ learning styles. As mentioned in the introduction, it is important for the teacher to adjust his/her teaching style to the learning styles preferred by students. By being able to adjust to the learning styles of the students, students may view the teacher as accommodating and approachable, and this may motivate students to learn. However, there are times when the subject matters in school require students to apply learning styles which they do not prefer. In this case, I will have to motivate my students to adhere to the subject matter’s required learning styles.
I assess my students’ learning by asking feedbacks from the students, faculty members, principal and parents as to how the students learn through my teaching. The way I teach reflect how the students learn. I will also assess students’ learning through asking follow-up questions to students regarding the facts which they have learned from our classes. Another way to assess students’ learning is to give the students quizzes, exams, exercises and have them participate in recitations. The students will either absorb the facts I teach effectively or not effectively, depending on how I clearly explain the lessons. Questions regarding the lessons will be answered correctly by students as long as they retain clearly my explanation of the lessons.
This style of assessment reflects my beliefs about student learning. As a student in the past, I have always found that assessing learning this way has made my teacher find out if I indeed has been learning something from what she taught, as also witnessed by our principal. I would “ideally” like to assess my students’ learning the same ways that I mentioned I would have assessed my students’ learning mentioned above. I see no obstacles preventing me from achieving this “ideal” type of assessing my students’ learning.
Riding, R. & Rayner, S. (2002). Cognitive Styles And Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences In Learning And Behaviour. David Fulton Publishers, 5, 217.
Claxton, C.S. & Murrell, P.H. (1987). Learning Styles: Implications For Improving Educational Practices [ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report]. Association For The Study Of Higher Education, 4.
Schmeck, R.R. (1988). Learning Strategies And Learning Styles: Perspectives On Individual Differences. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Curry, L. (1983). An Organization Of Learning Styles Theory And Constructs. Proceedings from Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, Montreal, Quebec, April 11-15, 1983, Montreal, Quebec: Education Resources Information Center.
Felder, R.M. & Spurlin, J. (2005). Applications, Reliability And Validity Of The Index Of Learning Styles. International Journal Engineering Edition, 1, 1.