TEACHING AND LEARNING CROSSROADS (FIRST PART)

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This is a research study based on teaching and learning styles.

This is a research study based on teaching and learning styles.

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  • 1. TEACHING AND LEARNING CROSSROADS FIRST PART MAHELA SOFIA FIGUEROA JURIS MARIA GUADALUPE GARCIA CASTAÑEDA UNIVERSIDAD PONTIFICIA BOLIVARIANA – MONTERIA CAMPUS July 20th 2006
  • 2. ABSTRACT This paper is an evaluative research study which is aimed to investigating the learning styles of students and teachers and whether the teacher’s teaching style matches with the students´ learning styles to determine if learning and motivation are present when there is a crossroad between learning and teaching styles. The focus group asked to participate in this study was selected from a private university in the north coast of Colombia; the group comprised thirty two students who are studying first level English and their teacher. Data was gathered from a survey completed by each student based on Reid’s Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (PLSPQ, 1987), a video-taped class, class tasks, field notes, a written survey, tape-recorded interviews, students´ written evaluation of the class and peer observation. From the information gathered, it was found that the tactile learning style was the most representative. This finding is not similar to any other research done in this field. The Tactile style was followed by the Auditory and Kinesthetic styles which were represented by the same percentage. Seven students were chosen from the focus group to study their major, minor and negligible learning styles. It was discovered that the auditory style was the major learning style while group and tactile were negligible. Three students had all learning styles in major and the same finding was obtained with minor learning styles. The major teacher’s learning style was the Visual style, followed by the Tactile and Kinesthetic. The negligible one was the Auditory. There was a match between teaching and learning styles. According to the data, it was confirmed that when there is a crossroad between teaching and learning motivation is present. RESUMEN En este trabajo se describe una investigación evaluativa cuya meta fue averiguar los estilos de aprendizajes de los estudiantes y del profesor y verificar si el estilo de enseñanza de este último coincidía con los estilos de aprendizajes de los estudiante para determinar si el aprendizaje y la motivación están presentes cuando existe una coincidencia entre los estilos de aprendizaje y enseñanza. Se tomó como muestra un grupo de Ingles Uno conformado por 32 estudiantes y su profesor. Para ello, se les pidió permiso para participar en este estudio. Ellos
  • 3. pertenecen a una universidad privada localizada en la costa norte de Colombia. Para recolectar información sobre los cuestionamientos de esta búsqueda, al grupo se aplicaron los siguientes instrumentos: una encuesta basada en los estilos de aprendizajes de Joy Reid, una clase video-grabada, una encuesta escrita, entrevistas grabadas, evaluación escrita de los estudiantes sobre la clase y observación de un colega. Analizados los resultados se encontró que el estilo de aprendizaje más representativo fue el Táctil, seguido por el Auditivo y Kinestesico. Este hallazgo no es similar a ningún otro encontrado en este campo. De acuerdo a las categorías de estilos de aprendizaje propuestas por Joy Reid: Mayor, Menor y Negativa, se seleccionaron de la muestra siete estudiantes para investigar cuales eran sus estilos de aprendizaje mas y menos definidos. Se observó que el mayor estilo de aprendizaje de estos individuos fue el Auditivo mientras que el Grupal y el Táctil fueron negativos. Tres estudiantes tenían todos los estilos de aprendizaje bien definidos y otros tres los tenían menos definidos. Se detectó además que el mayor estilo de aprendizaje utilizado por el profesor fue el Visual seguido por el Kinestésico y el Táctil mientras que el negativo fue el auditivo. Hubo coincidencia entre los estilos de aprendizaje de los estudiantes y el estilo de enseñanza del profesor. También se confirmó que cuando existe una relación entre estos estilos la motivación está presente.
  • 4. INTRODUCTION How individuals learn or understand new information and their preferred methods for learning have been subjected to a great deal of attention. It has also been the focus of a number of L2 studies in recent years since Reid’s influential work on the topic was published in 1987. Research on learning styles, has provided teachers and also students with a different view of learning and how to apply it to classrooms and lives. Among the authors that have views regarding this topic are: Mathew Peacock (2001), Rao Zhenhui (2001), Joy Reid (1995), Rita and Kenneth Dunn (1993), Richard Felder (1995) among others. Educators and researchers have developed several instruments to assess students´ learning styles, but literature regarding this topic is full of unresolved issues, both theoretical and practical (Wilson, 1998,P.3). On the other hand, these instruments have been a great help in identifying these styles in students and also exploring them with the aim of improving the learning and teaching processes. According to the information above, the purpose of this research study is to identify: a) What the leaning styles of a First Level English group at a private university located in the North Coast of Colombia are. b) What the major – minor and negligible learning styles of the seven students and the teacher chosen for this research study are. c) What the teacher’s teaching style is d) If there is a match between students´ learning styles and the teacher’s teaching style.
  • 5. This topic is important for teachers to know what students´ learning styles are in order to create an optimal environment for learners and teachers in the classroom.
  • 6. LITERATURE REVIEW For many years researchers have investigated the relationship between how individuals learn and how teachers´ influence that learning process. Research on learning and teaching styles has provided teachers and students with a different view of learning and teaching within the classrooms. Among the authors that have done research on this topic are: • Mathew Peacock (2001) studied the correlation between learning and teaching styles based on Reid’s hypotheses. He found out that a mismatch between teaching and learning styles causes learning failure, frustration and demotivation. He also found that learners favored kinesthetic and auditory styles and disfavored individual and group styles, while teachers favored kinesthetic, group and auditory styles. • Rao Zhenhui (2001) analyzed matching teaching styles with learning styles in East Asian contexts. He diagnosed learning styles and developed self-aware EFL learners. He mentioned that an effective matching between teaching and learning styles can only be achieved when teachers are aware of their learners´ needs, capacities, potentials, and learning style preferences. He also mentioned that it is necessary to alter the teaching styles to create a teacher- student style matching. • Rita and Kenneth Dunn (1993) studied how people learn and they noticed that some students achieved knowledge only through selective methods. They mentioned many elements that influence learning styles: environmental, emotional, sociological and physical elements. They also mentioned nine elements that influence a teaching style: attitudes towards instructional programs among others. • Joy Reid (1995) said that “Learning styles are internally based characteristics of individuals for intake of understanding of new information. All learners have
  • 7. individual attributes related to the learning processes. Some people may rely on visual presentations, others prefer spoken language; still others may respond better to hands-on activities. It is evident that people learn differently and these differences in learning abound ESL/EFL settings.” She also said that matching teaching styles with learning styles give all learners an equal chance in the classroom and builds student self-awareness. She also categorizes learning styles into six types: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, tactile, group, and Individual. • Felder (1995:28) said that “the way in which an individual characteristically acquires, retains, and retrieves information are collectively termed the individuals´ learning styles”. He also added that mismatches often occur between learning styles in students in a language class and the teaching style of the instructor with unfortunate effects on the quality of the students´ learning and on their attitudes towards the class and the subject.
  • 8. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Students are faced with an enormous task when they learn a new language. No matter what kind of learners they are, their cultural and language background, previous experiences or individual learning styles. Learning Styles and Teaching Styles must match to obtain a good student’s and teacher’s performance in the classroom. Reid (1995) defined Language Learning Styles, as a student’s preferred method or mode of learning and Style Eble (1980) said that a Teaching Style represents those enduring personal qualities and behaviors that appear in how we conduct our classes. Thus, it is both something that defines us, that guides and directs our instructional processes and that has effects on students and their ability to learn. There are many theories about Learning Styles and Teaching Styles: Reid (1995) is now the most widely accepted, as is her categorization of styles into six types: 1- Visual Learners (they prefer seeing things in writing or pictures), 2- Auditory Learners (they prefer listening), 3- Kinesthetic Learners (they prefer active participation/experiences), 4- Tactile Learners (they prefer hands-on work), 5- Group Learners (they prefer studying or working with others) and 6- Individual Learners (they prefer studying or working alone). According to Reid’s major hypotheses about this topic the author said that “all students have their own learning styles and learning strengths and weaknesses” and that “a mismatch between teaching and learning styles causes learning failure, frustration and demotivation” and she also said that “learning could be improved when there is an awareness of a wider variety of learning styles”. Throughout this research two studies were used: Reid’s work (1987-1995) about categorization of leaning styles and Peacock (2001) who studied the correlation between Learning and Teaching Styles based on Reid’s hypotheses. These models were chosen due to the transcendence they have in the learning and teaching fields. It is suggested that a Match between Teaching and Learning Styles in a L2 classroom creates a motivating environment that aids the learning and teaching processes. Although this aspect is under -investigated in Colombia, there are a lot of theories that
  • 9. support that a mismatching between teaching and learning affects negatively these processes. It is proposed to do more research about this topic and widely spread the findings among EFL teachers.
  • 10. METHODOLOGY A. PARTICIPANTS This research was carried out at a private university in the North Coast of Colombia. It is a catholic university, located 8 kilometers outside the city and is made up of 12 faculties. Law and Social Studies is one of them. The Language Center belongs to this faculty. It offers four basic and two specific English levels to the students of this university. The basic levels are not compulsory while the specific ones are. A first level English group and its teacher were involved in this investigation. The group of students was made up of 22 males and 10 females. They were between 16 and 21 years old. The learners were studying: computing engineering, mechanical engineering, architecture and law. They belonged to 1 to 5 socio-economic backgrounds. The first and second socioeconomic backgrounds correspond to people who have low incomes. The third and fourth ones correspond to people who have average incomes and the fifth and sixth ones are related to high incomes. Seven students were chosen for this research study in order to investigate their learning styles, the teacher’s learning and teaching styles and the match between them. One student was 21 years old; the others were 16, 17 and 19 years old. Four of them were in first semester and the others were in second, third, and seventh semesters. One studied architecture, two law, and four computing engineering. Four of them liked English; two liked it a little while one did not like it at all. (The aforementioned information was taken from a written questionnaire answered in class by all the students). The teacher was a female who is 28 years old. She studied English in the United States and had a college degree in Business administration. She has been teaching English in this university since 2003. She has also taught in basic and specific levels. B. METHODS In this Evaluation research, a quantitative and qualitative descriptive methodology was applied. A Heuristic orientation was given to this task because it was important to know the structure and essence of the students´ experiences, feelings, thoughts and how they interpret them.
  • 11. Data were gathered taking into consideration learning styles, student motivation, students` experiences with English as a foreign language and matching Leaning Styles with Teaching styles. The following instruments were used: 1- Reid’s Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (PLSPQ, 1987) 2- A video-Taped Class to ascertain students´ preferences to learn and the teacher’s teaching style. 3- Class tasks related to learning styles were developed throughout the semester. 4- Field Notes were written during the semester. 5- A written survey 6- Tape-recorded interviews related to learning styles. 7- Students´ evaluation of the class. 8- Peer observation C- DATA ANALYSIS Before collecting the data students were asked permission to participate in this research study and they agreed to do it. Their names were changed to maintain anonymity. First, quantitative scores were calculated for all questionnaire data in order to find out the student’s and teacher learning styles. With this instrument learners identified the way they learned best and preferred to learn. The questionnaire was composed by thirty statements that covered Reid’s six learning style preferences, with a rating scale from 1 to five for each one of them. Students answered them as they applied to their study of English on a 5-point scale. Please refer to table 1 to see rating scale. Table 1. Rating Scale Strongly agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly disagree 5 4 3 2 1 Reid (1995) classified learning styles as Major, Minor or Negligible. Major is a preferred leaning style, Minor is one in which learners can still function well, and negligible means they may have difficulty learning. When the numerical value was assigned to the corresponding learning style, the numbers were added to obtain a total score and
  • 12. then it was multiplied by 2 determining the major, minor or negligible learning style. For example: Table 2: Learning Styles Scoring Visual Question Score 6 4 10 2 12 5 24 3 29 4 Total 18 Score = Total x 2 36 After that, all the results were analyzed by placing them into categories according to the aforementioned learning style preferences and presented in tables and figures shown in the findings. Qualitative data as video-taped class, field notes, class tasks, peer observation, and students´ evaluation of the class were utilized. The researchers´ purpose was to find out information related to learning styles, students´ motivation and their experiences with English as a foreign language. They also wanted to see if there was a match or mismatch between teaching and learning styles. After collecting the data, patterns or coincidences were categorized according to the findings.
  • 13. RESULTS LEARNING STYLES a- focus group The results from Reid’s PLSPQ questionnaire applied to the focus group and its teacher are given in tables 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and figures 1, 2, 3,4,5,6. Table 3 and figure 1 show that 50% of the class preferred the visual style (major) and the other 50% (minor) could still function well in that style. This could also be assured when students wanted to see everything the teacher wrote on the board. Students liked it when the teacher gave them hand outs and written information. None of the students had any problem using the visual style (negligible) Please see results in table 3 and Fig 1 Table 3: Visual Style SCORE VISUAL NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 0 MINOR 26 - 36 16 MAJOR 38 - 50 16 TOTAL ESTUDIANTES 32 Figure 1 Visual Learning Style 0% 50% 50% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 Table 4 and Figure 2 show that 63% of the participants´ most representative and popular style was the Tactile (major), this means that they learnt by constructing things, taking notes, doing projects. This finding is not similar to any other research done in this field. It can be ascertained that in-class tasks when learners had to create a poster or designing their own family tree, motivated them since they could use different materials such as family photos, scissors, markers, glue, etc. The data suggest that the teacher noticed that throughout the semester they used this style in all the activities. 28% of the participants could still function well in this learning style (minor)
  • 14. and 9% of the individuals had difficulty learning in that way (negligible). See results in table 4 and Fig 2. Table 4: Tactile Style SCORE TACTILE NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3 MINOR 26 - 36 9 MAJOR 38 - 50 20 TOTAL STUDENTS 32 Figure 2 Tactile Learning Style 9% 28% 63% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 Tables 5 and 6 show that the Auditory and Kinesthetic styles had the same scores of preference among the students. According to the survey, 56% of the focus population selected them as a major learning style. It is something this research task has in common with other studies in which students liked to role-play and listening to their teacher and classmates speak. This could be corroborated during the video-taped class and the class tasks when students listened to tapes, watched films and videos. This was also observed when they rehearsed and presented activities related to movement, role-plays , and mimics, guessing games, touching, and expressing their feelings physically in which they performed very well. 41% of the students can still function well with this style (minor) and 3% may have difficulty learning this way (negligible) Table 5: Auditory SCORE AUDITORY NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 1 MINOR 26 - 36 13 MAJOR 38 - 50 18 TOTAL STUDENTS 32
  • 15. Figure 3 Auditory Learning Style 3% 41% 56% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 Table 6: Kinesthetic Style SCORE KINESTHETIC NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 2 MINOR 26 - 36 12 MAJOR 38 - 50 18 TOTAL STUDENTS 32 Figure 4 Kinesthetic Learning Style 6% 56% 38% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 Table 7 and figure 5 show that 50% of the students liked to work in groups, to share ideas, opinions and knowledge (major learning style). 31% of them could still work well in this type of learning(minor) and the other 9% had difficulty when learning in groups (Negative learning style). Group work was a feature that was shown by learners throughout the semester in class observation, class tasks and in the video-taped class. Please see results table 6.
  • 16. Table 7: Group Work SCORE GROUP NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3 MINOR 26 - 36 13 MAJOR 38 - 50 16 TOTAL STUDENTS 32 Figure 5 Group Learning Style 9% 50% 41% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 Table 8 and figure 6 show that the least popular style was the Individual, though it was not negative. 60% of students liked to work individually whereas 31% of them could still function well in this style. The rest of learners (9%) had a negligible individual learning style which means they had difficulty when working alone. It could be noticed that according to oral interviews and in class observation they assured they liked to work in groups rather than individually. They ascertained the thesis that in spite the fact they liked to work in groups they performed poorly when working individually. Students liked a lot to work in pairs and in group as it was observed within the classroom. Thus, it can be concluded that although individuals like to work in groups they see themselves as individualistic people and this can be said to be a characteristic of Colombian culture. See table 8. Table 8: Individual Style SCORE INDIVIDUAL NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3 MINOR 26 - 36 19 MAJOR 38 - 50 10 TOTAL STUDENTS 2
  • 17. Figure 6 Individual Learning Style 9% 31% 60% NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 b) Target students As it was mentioned at the beginning of this Research study, seven learners were chosen to investigate their major, minor and negligible learning styles. The findings are shown below: Student 1 Table 9 Auditor Kinestheti Grou Score Visual Tactile y c p Individual NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 24 MINOR 26 - 36 32 36 34 34 MAJOR 38 - 50 42 Student 2 Table 10 Auditor Kinestheti Grou Score Visual Tactile y c p Individual NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 30 34 36 36 34 MAJOR 38 - 50 40 Student 3 Table 11 Auditor Kinestheti Grou Score Visual Tactile y c p Individual NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 26 34 34 32 34
  • 18. MAJOR 38 - 50 42 Student 4 Table 12 Auditor Grou Individua Score Visual Tactile y Kinesthetic p l NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 24 MINOR 26 - 36 26 26 36 30 30 MAJOR 38 - 50 Student 5 Table 13 Auditor Grou Individua Score Visual Tactile y Kinesthetic p l NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 48 46 38 46 48 38 Student 6 Table 14 Auditor Grou Individua Score Visual Tactile y Kinesthetic p l NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 40 42 48 50 44 38 Student 7 Table 15 Auditor Grou Individua Score Visual Tactile y Kinesthetic p l NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 MINOR 26 - 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 38 48 38 44 46 48
  • 19. First, it was noticed that 72% of the target students´ major learning style was Auditory. Another major learning style was the Tactile with an average of 43%. There were three students who had all learning styles in major (43%). The same percentage was obtained from the minor learning styles (43%) but they differed from one student to another. And 15% of them had negligible learning styles (group and tactile) as shown in the tables above. The result mentioned in the first line of this paragraph reinsured that the auditory style is one of the preferred learning styles among these students and the whole group. Secondly, according to the data found in Reid’s PLSPQ questionnaire, students 1, 3, 6 and 7 had a lower average score in the group style than the individual one. This can also be corroborated in the tape-recorded interview. Please see the excerpts: Q1: Do you like to work in a group or individually? Their answers were as follows: S1: “I like to work in groups because it’s better, because we share ideas and help each other” S3: “I like to work in groups better” S6: “I like to work in groups because we share ideas, because everyone has ideas and we can share knowledge” S7: “In group because one helps each other and learns more. And if one doesn’t know the other one can help you” These ideas reinforced the thesis mentioned before when the total group was analyzed. They confirmed that Colombian people see themselves as an individualistic culture although in real life they like to work in groups. It was also checked throughout the class tasks done during the semester which evidence is shown in the appendix. Third, it was also deduced from Reid’s PLSPQ questionnaire that students who have developed all learning styles in major could shift from one style to another without difficulty. Due to this, it can be said that the more learning strategies students use the easier they learn. This also could be confirmed during the semester through class tasks and a video-taped class. See appendix. c- Teacher’s Learning Styles Table 16
  • 20. Visua Auditor Kinestheti Grou Individua SCORE l Tactile y c p l NEGLIGIBL E 0 - 24 3 MINOR 26 - 36 36 36 MAJOR 38 - 50 46 42 42 Table 16 shows that the most representative teacher’s learning style was the Visual, then the tactile and kinesthetic, after that the group and individual and the least representative was the auditory. Although the last one was negative for the teacher, she used it in class as noted from field notes, peer observation and the video-taped class. MOTIVATION It was encountered that students were strongly motivated during the semester due to the class tasks and methodology that the teacher designed in order to use all learning styles. This could be deducted from the written survey, the tape-recorded interviews, and students´ evaluation of the class. • The following are the transcribed answers of the target group gathered from the Written Survey. Q1: Do you like English? S1: Yes, but I don’t understand it. I don’t have time to study it” S4: “No, it is very complicated but I would like to learn it because it is important nowadays”. Q2: How have your experiences with English been? And with your previous English teachers? S1: “Normal. I have never studied English before. I hope to pass it. The teacher was good” S2: “Very nice. I liked it and they have been spectacular. The teacher was dynamic” S3:” Good. I understand the explanations and I have listened to people who understand it” S4: “Bad, I don’t know anything. The classes were not dynamic and the teacher wasn’t good”
  • 21. S5: “Excellent. The only thing I have had troubled was the letter. I couldn’t express what I wanted” S6: “Terrible in 11th grade. We were shocked and afraid when the teacher asked questions and we couldn’t answer them and he gave us bad grades. Today I know that is practice” S7: “I liked it in the school. The teacher sometimes talked in English and sometimes in Spanish” Q3: How have these experiences influenced your English learning? S1: “Nothing, because I haven’t seen its importance” S2: “They have influenced my personal development” S3: “A lot. Every class I learn new vocabulary” S4: “Bad. I don’t know anything” S5: “I have acquired more knowledge” S6: “So much. I have never had interest before; now I love it” S7: “Good but not enough to know everything about English” • Here we present some samples of the questions and answers that were transcribed from the taped-recorded interview: Q1: Do you like English? Why? S1: “Yes, but I don’t understand it very much” S2: “Yes, it is necessary nowadays” S3: “Yes, it’s a necessary language in these days” S4: “Yes, it’s essential” S5: “Yes, it’s a base for being a good professional in the future” S6: “Yes, it is a requirement for all careers” S7: “Yes, everybody must use it” Q2: How were your previous experiences with English? S1: “It was good, but I obtained better results in high school than in the university” S2: “it was good” S3: “it was good” S4: “it was bad, the teacher was very bad and he only taught the verb To Be” S5: “it was good. The teachers were so good”
  • 22. S6: “It was regular, the teacher spoke in Spanish” S7: “Very good” Note: although the whole group was tape-recorded, just the answers of the target students were written here. • Students were asked to write an evaluation of the class taking into account: motivation, experiences and the methodology used in class. The student’s writings are shown below: S1: “The truth is that the class was interesting. English has never been what I like the most, but with you it was interesting. You are an excellent teacher, person and a very good professional” S2: “The classes were very nice. I learned many things. I liked the way you talked in English is a good way to learn.” S3: “The classes were good. The teacher has the skills. She worried about our achievements. The methodology was good” S4: “This is the first time in four years that I liked English a little bit more. I always dropped out the courses. I congratulate you because you made English enjoyable for me. Continue using your pedagogy. The course was excellent not only the subject but also the way you teach English” S5: “The teacher is well prepared and intelligent. God bless you. Continue using your methodology” S6: “I’m very happy. You have many things to give us and you are very secure. Classes were excellent and I acquire a very clear knowledge. The didactic material was spectacular” S7:” It was very good. The classes were dynamic. Your methodology was very good” There were two students who did not like English at the beginning of the course due to their previous experiences with this language. At the end of the course they changed their minds and were motivated towards learning English. This finding was gathered from the information analyzed in the instruments transcribed above. It was also noticed that affective variables (previous experiences with English) played a relevant role in students´ performance. This could be also related to the students´ attitude during classes when they participated actively or not according to their positive
  • 23. or negative previous experiences. It was observed that the two students who did not like English at the beginning obtained good results in class tasks. See appendix (activities who’s this? and William Shakespeare). MATCHING LEARNING STYLES WITH THE TEACHING STYLE It was observed that there was a match between teaching and learning styles as it was confirmed in the video -taped class, peer observation of the video and field notes. In the former instrument, the teacher shifted from one style to another creating a participating and motivating environment. In this video, two activities were recorded: a role play and a guessing game that the teacher used to practice a topic and to introduce a new one. Learners were really interested in both activities as it could be seen in peer’s observation. They had fun, laughed a lot and participate actively in those activities. It was also encountered that in spite of the fact, that the teacher had a negligible auditory style, she used it in her classes. For each one of her classes, she prepared activities that dealt with most of learning styles in each one of her classes and as a result she obtained good student’s performance and raised students` motivation. In other words, A good result can be obtained If a teacher keeps a balance between students learning styles and his/ her teaching style. WHY IS THIS STUDY SIGNIFICANT? It is relevant to study learning styles and to know what individuals preferred ways of learning are in order to determine better teaching strategies inside the classroom and to motivate students´ participation in class by creating activities related to their learning styles. PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS Recent studies have shown that a match between teaching and learning styles helps to motivate students´ process of learning. That is why teachers should identify their own teaching styles as well as their learning styles to obtain better results in the classroom. The aim is to have a balanced teaching style and to adapt activities to meet students´ style and to involve teachers in this type of research to assure the results found in this
  • 24. research study. It is also helpful to design class tasks in which students can deal with their different learning styles. APPENDIX Learning Styles: 1. Reid’s Perceptual Learning Style Preference questionnaire. Directions People learn in many different ways. For example, some people learn primarily with their eyes (visual learners) or with the ears (auditory learners); some people prefer to learn by experience and/or by "hands-on" tasks (kinesthetic or tactile learners); some people learn better when they work alone while others prefer to learn in groups. This questionnaire has been designed to help you identify the way(s) you learn best-- the way(s) you prefer to learn. Read each statement on the following pages. Please respond to the statements AS THEY APPLY TO YOUR STUDY OF ENGLISH. Decide whether you agree or disagree with each statement. For example, if you strongly agree mark: SA A U D SD Strongly agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly
  • 25. Disagree X Please respond to each statement quickly, without too much thinking. Try not to change your responses after you choose them. Please answer all the questions. Please use a pen to mark your choices. Perceptual Learning-Style Preference Questionnaire (taken from Reid´s Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire PLSPQ 1987) SA A U D SD Strongly agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree X Item SA A U D SD 1. When the teacher tells me the instructions I understand better. 2. I prefer to learn by doing something in class. 3. I get more work done when I work with others. 4. I learn more when I study with a group. 5. In class, I learn best when I work with others. 6. I learn better by reading what the teacher writes on the chalkboard. 7. When someone tells me how to do something in class, I learn it better.
  • 26. 8. When I do things in class, I learn better. 9. I remember things I have heard in class better than things I have read. 10. When I read instructions, I remember them better. 11. I learn more when I can make a model of something. 12. I understand better when I read instructions. 13. When I study alone, I remember things better. 14. I learn more when I make something for a class project. 15. I enjoy learning in class by doing experiments. 16. I learn better when I make drawings as I study. 17. I learn better in class when the teacher gives a lecture. 18. When I work alone, I learn better. 19. I understand things better in class when I participate in role- playing. 20. I learn better in class when I listen to someone. 21. I enjoy working on an assignment with two or three classmates. 22. When I build something, I remember what I have learned better. 23. I prefer to study with others. 24. I learn better by reading than by listening to someone. 25. I enjoy making something for a class project. 26. I learn best in class when I can participate in related activities. 27. In class, I work better when I work alone.
  • 27. 28. I prefer working on projects by myself. 29. I learn more by reading textbooks than by listening to lectures. 30. I prefer to work by myself Self-Scoring Sheet Instructions There are 5 questions for each learning category in this questionnaire. The questions are grouped below according to each learning style. Each question you answer has a numerical value. SA A U D SD Strongly Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly agree Disagree 5 4 3 2 1 Fill in the blanks below with the numerical value of each answer. For example, if answered Strongly Agree (SA) for question 6 (a visual question), write a number 5 (SA) on the blank next to question 6 below. Visual 6=5 When you have completed all the numerical values for Visual, add the numbers. Multiply the answer by 2, and write the total in the appropriate blank. Follow the process for each of the learning style categories. When you have finished, look at the scale at the bottom of the page; it will help you determine your major
  • 28. learning style preference(s), your minor learning style preference(s), and those learning style(s) that are negligible. If you need help, please ask your teacher. Visual Question Score 6 10 12 24 29 Total Score = Total x 2 Tactile Question Score 11 14 16 22 25 Total Score = Total x 2
  • 29. Auditory Question Score 1 7 9 17 20 Total Score = Total x 2 Group Question Score 3 4 5 21 23 Total Score = Total x 2 Kinesthetic Question Score 2
  • 30. 8 15 19 26 Total Score = Total x 2 Individual Question Score 13 18 27 28 30 Total Score = Total x 2 Major learning Style Preference 38-50 Minor Learning Style Preference 25-37 Negligible 0-24 Explanation of Learning Style Preferences
  • 31. Students learn in many different ways. The questionnaire you completed and scored showed which ways you prefer to learn English. In many cases, students' learning style preferences show how well students learn material in different situations. The explanations of major learning style preferences below describe the characteristics of those learners. The descriptions will give you some information about ways in which you learn best. Visual Major Learning Style Preference You learn well from seeing words and pictures in books, on the chalkboard, and in workbooks. You remember and understand information and instructions better if you read them. You don't need as much oral explanation as an auditory learner, and you can often learn alone, with a book. You should take notes of lectures and oral directions if you want to remember the information. Auditory Major Learning Style Preference You learn from hearing words spoken and from oral explanations. You may remember information by reading aloud or moving your lips as you read, especially when you are learning new material. You benefit from hearing audio tapes, lectures, and class discussions. You benefit from making tapes to listen to, by teaching other students, and by conversing with your teacher or other students. Kinesthetic Major Learning Style Preference You learn best by experience, by being involved physically in classroom experiences. You remember information well when you actively participate in activities, field trips, and role-playing in the classroom. A combination of stimuli--for example, an audiotape combined with an activity--will help you understand new material. Tactile Major Learning Style Preference You learn best when you have the opportunity to do "hands-on" experiences with materials. That is, working on experiments in a laboratory, handling and building models, and touching and working with materials provide you with the most successful learning situation. Writing notes or instructions can help you remember information, and physical involvement in class related activities may help you understand new information.
  • 32. Group Major Learning Style Preference You learn more easily when you study with at least one other student, and you will be more successful completing work well when you work with others. You value group interaction and class work with other students, and you remember information better when you work with two or three classmates. The stimulation you receive from group work helps you learn and understand new information. Individual Major Learning Style Preference You learn best when you work alone. You think better when you study alone, and you remember information you learn by yourself. You understand new material best when you learn it alone, and you make better progress in learning when you work by yourself. Minor Learning Styles In most cases, minor learning styles indicate areas where you can function well as a learner. Usually a very successful learner can learn in several different ways. Negligible Learning Styles Often, a negligible score indicates that you may have difficulty learning in that way. One solution may be to direct your learning to your stronger styles. Another solution might be to try to work on some of the skills to strengthen your learning style in the negligible area. Note: This is a Spanish translation of Reid’s PLSQP Questionnaire that was a applied to the whole group. Instrucciones La gente aprende de diferentes maneras. Por ejemplo, Algunos aprenden principalmente con sus ojos (aprendices visuales) o con los oídos (aprendices auditivos); Alguna gente prefiere aprender por experiencia y /o por realizando trabajos con sus manos (aprendices kinestésicos o táctiles); alguna gente aprende mejor cuando trabajan solos mientras que otros prefieren trabajar en grupos. Este cuestionario ha sido diseñado para ayudarle a identificar las maneras en las que usted aprende mejor—o la manera en la que usted prefiere aprender.
  • 33. Lea cada frase en las siguientes páginas. Por favor responda como si esta actividad perteneciera a la clase de inglés. Decida si usted esta de acuerdo o en desacuerdo con cada frase. Por ejemplo, si concuerdas totalmente, marca: SA A U D SD De acuerdo Estoy de no me decido En desacuerdo En desacuerdo totalmente acuerdo totalmente X Por favor responda a cada frase rápidamente, sin pensarlo mucho. Trate de no cambiar sus respuestas una vez haya seleccionado una respuesta. Por favor responda todas las preguntas. Por favor use un lapicero para marcar sus respuestas. Cuestionario de Preferencias de Estilos de Aprendizaje Perceptual. SA A U D SD De acuerdo De No me decido En desacuerdo En desacuerdo totalmente acuerdo totalmente X Item SA A U D SD 1. Cuando el profesor me d alas instrucciones entiendo mejor. 2. Yo prefiero aprender hacienda cosas en clase. 3. Trabajo más cuando trabajo con otros. 4. Aprendo más cuando trabajo con otros.. 5. En clase , Yo aprendo mejor cuando trabajo con otros. 6. Yo aprendo mejor leyendo lo que el profesor escribe en el tablero.
  • 34. 7. Cuando alguien me dice como hacer las cosas en clase aprendo mejor. 8. Cuando hago cosas en clase, aprendo mejor. 9. Recuerdo mejor cosas que yo he escuchado que las que he leído. 10. Cuando leo instrucciones las recuerdo mejor. 11. Aprendo mejor cuando puedo hacer un modelo de algo. 12. Entiendo mejor cuando leo instrucciones. 13. Cuando estudio solo, recuerdo las cosas mejor. 14. Aprendo más cuando hago algo para un proyecto de clase. . 15. Disfruto aprender en clase realizando experimentos. 16. Aprendo más cuando dibujo como parte del estudio 17. Aprendo más cuando el profesor da conferencias 18. Cuando trabajo solo, aprendo mejor. 19. Entiendo las cosas mejor cuando participo en dramas. 20. Aprendo mejor en clase cuando escucho a alguien. 21. Disfruto trabajar una tarea con dos o tres compañeros.. 22. Cuando construyo algo, recuerdo mejor lo que he aprendido. 23. Prefiero estudiar con otros. 24. Aprendo mejor leyendo que escuchando a alguien 25. Disfruto hacienda algo para proyectos de clase. 26. Aprendo mejor cuando participo en actividades relacionadas. 27. En clase, Trabajo mejor cuando trabajo solo.
  • 35. 28. Prefiero trabajar solo en mis proyectos. 29 Aprendo más leyendo libros que escuchando conferencias. 30. Prefiero trabajar por mí mismo NOTE: the exercise below was designed by the teachers involved in this research study. 2. Class Tasks related to how Colombian people see themselves as individualistic persons. WHO IS THIS? Students had to fill in the blanks with the appropriate verb and its form in Simple Present Tense. In the morning, Sophy usually _________________ at 6:00 and then she ___________ a shower. Later, she ________________ her clothes and when she is ready she ___________ a cup of coffee and ___________ to the university. She ____________ at the university the whole morning and in the afternoon she ___________ her homework. In the evening, she ____________ T.V or __________ to music.She __________ listening to Pop music. She also _________ dancing with her friends on weekends. She _________ listening to Champeta music, ___________ chores and ___________ her bed. She _________ with her parents, two brothers and three sisters. She __________ in a big house in the countryside. Note: the following activity was adapted from William Shakespeare´s biography taken from Encarta Encyclopedia. In this task, students had to fill in the blanks using the appropriate verb in the Past Simple tense. Copies of the completed exercised were taken and shown below. William Shakespeare - The Greatest Playwright
  • 36. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in the middle of England in 1564. His father, John, was a glove maker and his mother came from a locally well known farming family. He went to the local school where he probably learned Latin and Greek. In1583 he got married to a woman called Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children, Susanna, Judith and Hamnet. He worked as an actor in London in 1592. It was while he was working as an actor that he started writing his own plays. By 1599, he became successful and he was able to build his own theatre, which he called “The Globe”. He worked and wrote plays at the Globe until 1613. He died in 1616. He wrote over 150 poems and 37 plays. William Shakespeare - The Greatest Playwright Worksheet A William Shakespeare was born in (a) …………………….in the middle of England in 1564. His father, John, was a (b)………………and his mother came from a locally well known farming family. He went to the(c)……………..school where he probably learned Latin and Greek. In(d) …………. he got married to a woman called Anne Hathaway, with whom he had (e) ………….children, Susanna, Judith and Hamnet. He worked as an actor in (f) …………… in 1592. It was while he was working as an actor that he (g) …………………. his own plays. By 1599, he became successful and he was able to build his own theatre, which he called (h)………………... He worked and wrote (i) ……………. at the Globe until 1613. He died in(j) …………... he wrote over 150 poems and 37 plays. Write questions for each of the gaps in the text above. a) Where was…………………………………………………? b) What was ………………………………………………….? c) Which school did………………………………………….? d)……………………………………………………………….? e) ………………………………………………………………? f) ……………………………………………………………….? g) ………………………………………………………………? h) ………………………………………………………………? i) ……………………………………………………………….? j) ……………………………………………………………….? Worksheet B William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in the middle of England in (1) ……….. His father, John, was a glove maker and his mother came from a William Shakespeare - The Greatest Playwright
  • 37. (2)………………………………………………… He went to the local school where he probably learned (3)……………and ……………... 97921.38In1583 he got married to a woman called (4).......................…, with whom he had three children, (5)……………, ……………… and Hamnet79213583.15. He worked as an actor in London in (6)………. It was (7)..........................as an actor that he started writing his own plays. By (8)…………., he became successful and he was able to build his own theatre, which he called “The Globe”. He worked and wrote plays at (9) ………………. until 1613. he died in 1616. he wrote over (10)……… poems and 37 plays. Write questions for each of the gaps in the text above. 1) When was …………………………………………………? 2) Where did his………………………………………………? 3) What did……………………………………………………? 4) ………………………………………………………………? 5) ………………………………………………………………? 6) ………………………………………………………………? 7) ………………………………………………………………? 8) ………………………………………………………………? 9) ………………………………………………………………? 10) …………………………………………………………….? First, the teacher brainstormed some information about William Shakespeare and pre- taught some unknown vocabulary: glove maker, plays, etc. Then, the class was divided into two groups, A and B. A copy of worksheet A was handed out to each student of group A and a copy of worksheet B was given to each student in group B. Time was given to check and ask about unknown vocabulary. Later, students worked in pairs with people who had the same worksheet and wrote down the questions (in simple past tense) they needed to ask in order to complete their version of the text. Next, students were rearranged so that each student with worksheet A was working with a student with worksheet B. Students were not allowed to look at each other’s papers. Students took turns to ask the questions they had prepared. They should write the answers in the spaces on the worksheet. After that, the teacher fixed all the worksheets on the classroom walls and students had to walk around trying to guess at least two owners of those worksheets. 3. When students shift from one learning strategy to another, they can learn easily. In the video-taped class a guessing activity could be analyzed. The teacher chose known and unknown regular verbs to be mimed. Each student had to perform the
  • 38. action they had chosen in front of the class. After the verb was guessed by the others they had to write a sentence using the past tense of that verb. The following verbs were the ones used in the activity: S1: Visit S2: Invite S3: Walk S4: Study S5: Clap S6: Kick S7: Fold The unknown verbs (clap, fold, kick) were guessed in Spanish and the teacher said them in English. The students shifted from one learning style to another without any difficulty (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, tactile and individual). They were involved. They participated and enjoyed the activity. Family Tree (Source: Cutting Edge Elementary Resource Bank. Pearson Education Limited 2001) In this task one copy of the family tree was given per student; one copy of worksheet A or worksheet B. First, the teacher checked if they understood how the people were related. Next, she divided the class into two groups, A and B. She gave a copy of worksheet A to all the students in group A and gave copy of worksheet B to all the students in group B. After that, students worked in pairs with some one who had the same worksheet. Students looked at the information and wrote the names of the family in the correct place of the family trees. When they finished, students checked their answers with another pair that had the same worksheet. Later, the class was rearranged so that one student who had worksheet A was working with a student who had worksheet B. Next, students asked each other questions with WHO IS…..? in order to complete the family tree. When they had a new name they should write it under the pictures in the space provided. Worksheet A 1. Bob is Steve’s brother. 2. Bob is married. His wife’s name is Sally. 3. Molly and Steve have got one daughter. Her name is Sue. 4. Molly’s got one sister. Her name’s Liz.
  • 39. 5. Sally and Bob have got one son. His name is Tom. 6. Tom’s got a sister. Her name’s Maria. 7. Mike is Liz’s father. 8. Jack is Tom’s grandfather 9. Steve is Tom’s uncle 10. Jack’s got two granddaughters, Maria and Sue. 11. Sue and Maria are cousins. 12. Mike’s got two daughters, Molly and Liz. Worksheet B 1. Steve’s got one sister. Her name’s Pam 2. Steve and Molly are Peter’s parents. 3. Billy is Peter’s brother 4. Molly’s got a brother. His name is Mark. 5. Mark is married. His wife’s name is Laura. 6. Emma is Pam and Steve’s mother. 7. Laura and Mark have got one son. 8. Victoria is Frank’s grandmother. 9. Molly is Frank’s aunt. 10. Frank and Billy are cousins. 11. Peter and Billy are Emma’s grandchildren. 12. Molly is Victoria’s daughter.
  • 40. FAMILY TREE 1_______ 2_______ 3 ________ 4 _______ 5 _________ 6 ________ 7_______ 8________ 9 MOLLY 10 STEVE 11________ 12_______ 13__________ 17________ 18_______ 14________ 15________ 16________
  • 41. BIBLIOGRAPHY Reid, Joy. (1995). Learning Styles in the EFL/ESL Classroom. Heinle & Heinle publisher. Dunn Rita & Dunn Kenneth. (1993). Learning Styles/ Teaching styles: Should They …. Can they… be Matched? Educational Leadership , 36, 1979, pp 238-244 Felder, Richard. (1995). Learning and Teaching Styles in Foreign and Second Language Education. Foreign Language Annals 28, N. 1 1995, pp. 21-31 Zhenhui, Rao. (2001). Matching Teaching Styles with Learning Styles for ESL/EFL Instruction. The Internet TESL journal, Vol VII, No 7, July 2001. Peacock, Matthew. (2001). Match or Mismatch? Learning Styles and Teaching Styles in EFL. International Journal of Applied Linguistic. Vol. 11. No 1. (20 p). Style, Eble. (1980) Sunconference.utep.edu/CET aL/resources/tws/teachingh style.pdf, pp. 95. Wilson, Vicky. (1998) Learning How They Learn: A Review of Literature on Learning Style.pdf eric.ed.gov ( pp. 3)