jueves, 5 de julio de 2007


30-july-07Let´s speak about the main learner´s characteristics and learner´s styles and learner´s needs. Students have different levels of motivation, different attitudes about teaching and learning, and different responses to specific classroom environments and instructional practices. All teachers must understand these differences, this is the best chance to understand or meet the diverse learning needs of all of their students.The diversity has shown to have serious and pedagogical implications for teaching and learning, so it´s important to look for differences in student´s learning styles defined as the characteristic ways of taking in a processing information or the ways of a person internalizes, perceives, conceptualizes, organizes and recalls information. Approaches to learning( surface or not effort to work the material is given by the teacher, deep or probing, questioning and exploring the material and strategic or doing whatever is necessary to get higher grades),and intellectual development levels(attitudes about the nature of knowledge and how it should be acquired and evaluated).I agree with Kierkegaard when he says that:” instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner. Put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he learns and the way he understand it.These styles come from previous experiences, the culture, the society and they´re related with learner´s characteristics such as: age, language levels, likes and dislikes, interests, social contexts, knowledge backgrounds cognitive needs, personality, motivation, affective filter, physical traits. If they are analyzed it finally does learning better, improves all the process including esteem, changes a no interests student by a reinterested one, and the relationship student- teacher is getting better too.It´s necessary to understand that all people are not the same. So the way to perceive their own environment is not similar, for this reason the access code of communication is different too. When the teacher knows it, he can find in the same form the strategies that close the bridge or gap in learning process. It gives the possibility to know the particular limits or weakness and strengths in each student, his personal history and unrepeated experiences as the digital prints.I ask the following then: Does an assessed learning style preference indicate a more comfortable and effective type of instruction for students? Yes, it can serve as a orientation to study, to suggest a career or indicate how they might improve their academic performance.yes, according to the styles must be the strategies used by the trainers, for example: If they are visual learners they consider the world in images, they feel strong when they´re communicating with the visual part of their brain, so they put the images in words, they can learn all of the multiplication facts as a related set in a chart much easier than using memory.They are well ordered, they can tell when something is out of alignment, and they love to work with rotating images in their mind, constructing, arranging, coloring or lighting and fixing things. They look at the teacher´s face intently. The personal presentation is important for them in the same way visual material resources or strategies as: videos, overheads and power point, manipulative demonstrations, graphics, maps, display posters, realia, mural, flashcards and illustrates handouts. Activities where visualization and imagination are used are meaningful.For auditory learners the main aspect is they are selective referring to the vocabulary they use. They pay special attention to the voice, the rhythm and sounds as memory aids. They like very much the teacher gives verbal instructions, like dialogues, discussions and plays, solve problems talking about them. They can be quiet for a long time, he is more flexible than a visual person, they don´t like the bad noises (machines, motors, chairs).The following strategies can be used: creating concept songs and raps, illustrating with sounds, discerning rhythmic patterns, composing music, linking music and concepts, recognizing tonal structures, using videos audio tapes, songs, chants, and memorization drills.Another learner´s style is bodily-kinesthetic: they mainly react to tactile sensations, they like physical activities, competitions, role plays, games, they find difficult to sit still for long periods, learn best when they are involved or active or when the hands are used for demonstrations , they use movements as an aid memory. Lab experiments, dramatizations, original or classical dances, charades or mimes, routines, skill demonstrations, illustrations using body languages or gestures are very important for them. Written exercises and drawing are good as a memory aid.There are many classifications for types of learners. I´ve spoken a little about John Grinder and Richard Bandler´s types. They have worked with an interesting science PNL (Neuro linguistic programming) developed on 70s. They pretended to profit at maximum the resources and the human and personal conditions.McCarthy considered four learning styles in 1980. Innovative: they look for personal meaning while learning; enjoy the social interaction, they´re cooperative. Analytic: they are patient and reflective; they want to develop intellectually while learning. They want to know important things. Common sense: they want to find solutions, they are practical and kinesthetic and the last one; Dynamic or creative: They look for hidden possibilities, reactive, enthusiastic; they get risks and use very well resources and information.I had read about other interesting descriptions on learner´s styles in a Richard M. Felder´s article. Introverted (focus on the inner world of ideas), extroverted (focus on the outer world of people), intuitors (focus on meanings and possibilities), judgers (focus on set and follow agendas) and thinkers (focus on decisions or logic rulers, skeptical).I can go on looking for other styles or other authors but I arrive to the same conclusions:Greater learning may occur when teaching styles match learning styles than when they are mismatched.Teachers must not limit a learner by thinking, they can learn in a particular way. So the teacher has the responsibility of the student´s effort doing always a courage feedback on progress.It´s very clear; there isn´t bad students, it is important to combine and vary methods and strategies to get learning goals and expectations.

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