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30 September 2016
Learning is the process of acquiring information from experience, study, or learning. Every student has a unique way of learning. Learning styles reflect how students receive information best. Teachers must be able to identify which learning styles work best for their students and should teach to students’ learning preferences. It is important that teachers understand the different learning styles: auditory, visual, reading or writing, and kinesthetic. Teachers need to help students at a young age develop both their learning style and learning habits. Development of learning styles in primary schools will help students’ academic development and progression throughout the rest of their schooling. Elementary school teachers must be able to recognize the different learning styles and be able to incorporate the learning styles into their lesson plans.
Scientists and psychologists use the VARK model to interpret students’ learning styles. The VARK model was designed by Neil Fleming. VARK stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. The VARK model is a series of approximately thirteen questions, and it is aimed to predict someone’s learning style based on the answers to the questionnaire. According to the VARK official website, “58% of individuals agree with the results” from the questionnaire and their own perception of their learning style (Boatman, Courtney, Lee). This means that more than half the individuals who take the VARK model agree with their results. When taking the test, learners can select more than one answer for each question. After answering all questions, learners submit their results and review their feedback. Results are charted. They are sorted into two columns and four rows. One column is called VARK style, and the other is called VARK score. Learners then can review their scores and determine which learning style they are most likely to benefit from. Learning styles “differ according to perceptual and processing preferences” among individuals (Filipczak). One individual may heavily rely on hands on activities to learn, while another student needs to visualize what is being taught.
Spatial learning, better known as visual learning, is the learning process through pictures, charts, colors, and images rather than words. Forty-two percent of the world’s population are visual learners. They typically have a good sense of direction and like to draw and scribble when taking notes. Tactics for teachers when teaching visual learners is to incorporate charts and graphs. Teachers should also try to incorporate as many visual aids as they can so that the student can visualize what is being taught. When creating presentations teachers should “keep it simple, apply color, use SmartArt, and display data” to appeal to visual earners (Clements). Spatial learners can easily visualize objects and plans. By applying visual aids to presentations, visual learners can retain information better. Similar to visual learning, repetition in writing is an effective tactical learning skill for elementary schoolers.
Tactical learners learn best by doing. There are two types of tactical learners; they are kinesthetic learners and reading/writing learners. Learners who learn best through reading and writing are known as reading/writing learners. Learning strategies for students who learn through reading or writing are writing and rewriting notes, writing lists, reading notes and the text book, organizing graphs into statements, and highlighting. They are good test takers and test best on written exams. Kinesthetic learners are more hands on learners. They learn best through experience and enjoy experiments. Learners who are kinesthetic “are able to listen and learn best” (A Stitch in Time) when they are physically moving some body part. Learning tactics for students who are kinesthetic learners are skimming through reading material and then rereading it, move around to study, listening to music while working, color coding, using symbols, and to typing notes. Elementary school teachers must be able to “tailor the lesson to the student” (Nelson). Teachers should try to incorporate the five senses into lessons to appeal to kinesthetic learners. Kinesthetic is the most difficult learning style for students later in life. It is hard to incorporate hands on experiences in higher levels of education; therefore, auditory learning skills are more commonly used in classrooms.
Auditory learners learn through listening or verbally speaking. They prefer to listen to lectures or listen to themselves recite what they are learning. Students who are auditory learners enjoy small groups and classroom discussions, and they are “enchanted by sounds” (Assessing Your Childs Learning Ability). About 19% of students are auditory learners, and they will remember 75% of what they hear. Scientists and psychologists say that when using auditory learning skills, it is the most difficult for students to remember or learn new material. Tactics for teachers when teaching their students is to talk in textures, such as change of pitch, volume, or even speed. Teachers can also incorporate study habits in students such as allowing smalls groups so that students can teach their peers. Auditory learning is the least effective learning style because individuals are not able to remember everything they hear. Auditory learning is one of the least common learning styles.
Visual learning is the most common learning style. Students do best when being able to visualize what is being learned. Tactical is the second common learning style because by doing what is learned, such as writing notes, students can use muscle memory to recall information leaned. Auditory learning is the least common learning style. Teachers can vary their lessons and activities in the classroom in aim to incorporate every learning style. Since teachers are least likely to teach auditory students, it is necessary that they incorporate visual aids and activities in their lessons and not rely on lecturing to teach. Multimodal learners use a combination of all learning techniques; thus, teachers do not have to worry about focusing on a specific learning technique. Learning style preferences do not stay the same. Students will change their learning preferences through out their life. However, it is imperative that students learn study habits at early ages so that they can adapt to changes in learning preferences over time.
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"Assessing Your Child's Learning Style." Philippines Daily Inquirer [Makati City, Philippines] 4 Dec. 2014. Global Issues in Context. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.
Boatman, Kara, Courtney, and Lee. "'See How They Learn': the impact of faculty and student learning styles on student performance in introductory economics (1)." American Economist 52.1 (2008): 39+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.
Clements, Sarah. "5 Tips to Designing an Engaging Visual Aid." Arkansas Business 13 June 2016: 23. Student Resources in Context. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.
Filipczak, Bob. "Different Strokes: Learning Styles in the Classroom." Training Mar. 1995: 43+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.
Nelson, Janet. "What's Your Learning Style." The New York Times Magazine 25 Apr. 1993. Student Resources in Context. Web. 5 Oct. 2016.
MacAulay learn through reading or writing are writing and rewriting notes, writing lists, reading notes and the text book, organizing graphs into statements, and highlighting. They are good test takers and test best on written exams. Kinesthetic learners are more hands on learners. They learn best through experience and enjoy experiments. Learners who are kinesthetic “are able to listen and learn best” (A Stitch in Time) when they are physically moving some body part. Learning tactics for students who are kinesthetic learners are skimming through reading material and then rereading it, move around to study, listening to music while working, color coding, using symbo