Teaching and learning styles zona proxima

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Teaching and learning styles zona proxima

  1. 1. Teaching and learning zona crossroads próxima María Guadalupe García CastañedaMahela Sofía Figueroa Juris Enrique Grau. Autorretarto, 1945. Óleo sobre lienzo, 57 x 50 cm zona próxima MARÍA GUADALUPE GARCÍA CASTAÑEDA Revista del Instituto COORDINADORA CENTRO DE LENGUAS, UNIVERSIDAD PONTIFICIA BOLIVARIANA de Estudios Superiores ( magupi@upbmonteria.edu.co) en Educación MAHELA SOFÍA FIGUEROA JURIS Universidad del Norte PROFESORA DE INGLÉS, UNIVERSIDAD PONTIFICIA BOLIVARIANA ( masfiju@hotmail.com) nº 8 diciembre, 2007 ISSN 1657-2416
  2. 2. En este trabajo se describe una RESUMEN 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 estánpresentes cuando existe una coincidencia entre los estilos de aprendizaje y This paper is an evaluative research enseñanza study which is aimed to investigating Se tomó como muestra un grupo the learning styles of students and de Inglés Uno conformado por 32 teachers and whether the teacher’sestudiantes y su profesor que pertenecen teaching style matches with thea una universidad privada localizada en la students´ learning styles to determine costa norte de Colombia. Para recolectar if learning and motivation are present información sobre los cuestionamientos when there is a crossroad between de esta búsqueda, al grupo se le learning and teaching styles. aplicaron diversos instrumentos. The focus group asked to participate Analizados los resultados se encontró in this study was selected from a que el estilo de aprendizaje más ABSTRACT private university in the north coast ofrepresentativo fue el Táctil, seguido por el Colombia; the group comprised thirtyAuditivo y Kinestésico. Este hallazgo no es two students who are studying first similar a ningún otro encontrado en este level English and their teacher. campo. Data was gathered from many Hubo coincidencia entre los estilos de different sources. From the aprendizaje de los estudiantes y el estilo information gathered, it was found de enseñanza del profesor. También se that the tactile learning style wasconfirmó que cuando existe una relación the most representative. This finding entre estos estilos la motivación está is not similar to any other research presente. done in this field. The Tactile style Estilos de aprendizaje mayor,palabras clave: was followed by the Auditory and menor y negativo, estilos de enseñanza. Kinesthetic styles which were represented by the same percentage. 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. key words: Major, minor and negligible learning styles, teaching styles. F E C H A D E R E C E P C I Ó N : AGOSTO 15 DE 2007 F E C H A D E ACEPTAC I Ó N : OCTUBRE 14 DE 2007
  3. 3. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa JurisINTRODUCTION b) What are the major – minor and negligible learning styles of theH ow individuals learn or seven students and the teacher understand new information chosen for this research? and their preferred methods c) What is the teacher’s teaching style?for learning have been subjected to a d) Is there a match between students´great deal of attention. It has also been learning styles and the teacher’sthe focus of a number of L2 studies teaching style?in recent years since Reid’s influentialwork on the topic was published in This topic is important to us as1987. teachers because we need to know Research on learning styles, has what our students´ learning stylesprovided teachers and also students are in order to create an optimalwith a different view of learning and environment for the learners and alsohow to apply it to classrooms and for us in the classroom.lives. Among the authors that haveviews regarding this topic are: Mathew LITERATURE REVIEWPeacock (2001), Rao Zhenhui (2001),Joy Reid (1995), Rita and Kenneth For many years researchers haveDunn (1993), Richard Felder (1995) investigated the relationship betweenamong others. how individuals learn and how Educators and researchers have teachers´ influence that learningdeveloped several instruments to process.assess students´ learning styles, but Research on learning and teachingliterature regarding this topic is full of styles has provided teachers andunresolved issues, both theoretical and students with a different view ofpractical (Wilson, 1998, p. 3). On the learning and teaching and how toother hand, these instruments have apply them in classrooms. Among thebeen a great help in identifying these authors that have done research onstyles in students and also exploring this topic are:them with the aim of improving thelearning and teaching processes. • Mathew Peacock (2001) studied According to the above mentioned the correlation between learninginformation, the purpose of this project and teaching styles based on Reid’swas to identify: hypotheses. He found out that a mismatch between teaching anda) What are the leaning styles of a learning styles causes learning First Level English group at a private failure, frustration and demotivation. university located in the North He also found that learners favored Coast of Colombia? kinesthetic and auditory and 80 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  4. 4. teaching and learning crossroads disfavored individual and group learning processes. Some people styles, while teachers favored may rely on visual presentations, kinesthetic, group and auditory others prefer spoken language; styles. still others may respond better to hands-on activities. It is evident that• Rao Zhenhui (2001) analyzed people learn differently and these matching teaching styles with differences in learning abound learning styles in East Asian ESL/EFL settings.” She also said contexts. He diagnosed learning that matching teaching styles with styles and developed self-aware learning styles give all learners an EFL learners. He mentioned that equal chance in the classroom an effective matching between and builds student self-awareness. teaching and learning styles can She also categorizes learning styles only be achieved when teachers into six types: Visual, Auditory, are aware of their learners´ Kinesthetic, tactile, group, and needs, capacities, potentials, and Individual. learning style preferences. He also mentioned that it is necessary to • Felder (1995:28) said that alter the teaching styles to create a “the way in which an individual teacher-student style matching. characteristically acquires, retains, and retrieves information are• Rita and Kenneth Dunn (1993) collectively termed the individuals´ studied how people learn and learning styles”. He also added that they noticed that some students mismatches often occur between achieved only through selective learning styles in students in a methods. They mentioned many language class and the teaching elements that influence learning style of the instructor with styles: environmental, emotional, unfortunate effects on the quality of sociological and physical elements. the students´ learning and on their They also mentioned nine elements attitudes towards the class and the that influence a teaching style: subject. attitudes towards instructional programs among others. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK• Joy Reid (1995) said that “Learning No matter what kind of learners styles are internally based they are - their cultural and language characteristics of individuals for background, previous experience, intake of understanding of new individual learning styles - students are information. All learners have faced with an enormous task when individual attributes related to the they learn a new language. Being Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 81
  5. 5. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Jurismore aware of how to approach this Throughout this research we usedtask and how to do it as effectively Reid’s work (1987-1995) aboutas possible – Learning Styles and categorization of leaning styles andTeaching Styles must match to obtain Peacok (2001) who studied thea good student’s and teacher’s correlation between Learning andperformance in the classroom. Teaching Styles based on Reid’s Reid defined Language Learning hypotheses. We used these modelsStyles, as a student’s preferred method due to the transcendence they have inor mode of learning and Style Eble the learning and teaching fields.(1980) said that a Teaching Style We suggest that a Match betweenrepresents those enduring personal Teaching and Learning Styles in aqualities and behaviors that appear in L2 classroom creates a motivatinghow we conduct our classes. Thus, it environment that aids the learningis both something that defines us, that and teaching processes. Althoughguides and directs our instructional this aspect is under -investigated inprocesses and that has effects on Colombia, there are a lot of theoriesstudents and their ability to learn. that support that a mismatching There are many theories about between teaching and learning affectLearning Styles and Teaching Styles: negatively these processes. WeReid (1995) is now the most widely propose to do more research aboutaccepted, as is her categorization ofstyles into six types: 1- Visual Learners this topic and inform to EFL teachers(they prefer seeing things in writing), about it and to involve them as2- Auditory Learners (they prefer participants in this type of studies.listening), 3- Kinesthetic Learners (theyprefer active participation/experiences), METHODOLOGY4- Tactile Learners (they prefer hands-on work), 5- Group Learners (they A. Participantsprefer studying or working with others)and 6- Individual Learners (they prefer This research was carried out at astudying or working alone). According private university in the North Coastto Reid’s major hypotheses about this of Colombia. It is a catholic university,topic she said that “all students have located 8 kilometers outside the citytheir own learning styles and learning and is made up of 12 faculties. Lawstrengths and weaknesses” and that and Social Studies is one of them.“a mismatch between teaching and The Language Center belongs to thislearning styles causes learning failure, faculty. It offers four basic and twofrustration and demotivation” and specific English levels to the studentsshe also said that “learning could be of this university. The basic levels areimproved when there is an awareness not compulsory while the specific onesof a wider variety of learning styles”. are. 82 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  6. 6. teaching and learning crossroads A first level English group and B. Methodsits teacher were involved in thisinvestigation. The group of students In this Evaluation research, awas made up of 22 males and 10 quantitative and qualitative descriptivefemales. They were between 16 methodology was applied. A Heuristicand 21 years old. The learners were orientation was given to this taskstudying: computing engineering, because it was important to know themechanical engineering, architecture structure and essence of the students´and law. They belonged to 1 to 5 experiences, feelings, thoughts andsocio-economic backgrounds. The how they interpret them.first and second socioeconomic Data about Learning Styles,backgrounds correspond to people students´ motivation, experiences withwho have low incomes. The third and English as a foreign language andfourth ones correspond to people matching Leaning Styles with Teachingwho have average incomes and the style were gathered from the followingfifth and sixth ones are related to instruments:high incomes. Seven students werechosen for this research in order 1. Reid’s Perceptual Learningto investigate their learning styles, Style Preference Questionnairethe teacher’s learning and teaching (PLSPQ, 1987):styles and the match between them. 2. A video-Taped Class to ascertainOne student was 21 years old; the students´ preferences to learn andothers were 16, 17 and 19 years old. the teacher’s teaching style.Four of them were in first semester 3. Class tasks related to learningand the others were in second, styles were developed throughoutthird, and seventh semesters. One the semester.studied architecture, two law, and 4. Field Notes were written during thefour computing engineering. Four of semester.them liked English; two liked it a little 5. A written surveywhile one did not like it at all. (The 6. Tape-recorded interviews relatedaforementioned information was taken to learning styles.from a written questionnaire answered 7. Students´ evaluation of the class.in class by all the students). 8. Peer observation The teacher was a female who was28 years old. She studied English in C. Data analysisthe United States and had a collegedegree in Business administration. Before collecting the data studentsShe has been teaching English in this were asked permission to participate inuniversity since 2003. She has also this research and they agreed to do it.taught in basic and specific levels. Their names were changed to maintain Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 83
  7. 7. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Jurisanonymity. First, quantitative scores experiences with English as a foreignwere calculated for all questionnaire language and if there was a matchdata in order to find out the student’s or mismatch between teaching andand teacher learning styles. With this learning styles.instrument learners identified the way After collecting the data, patternsthey learn best and prefer to learn. It or coincidences were categorizedwas composed by thirty statements according to the findings.that cover Reid’s six learning stylepreferences, with five expressions for RESULTSeach one of them. Students answeredthem as they applied to their study of Learning stylesEnglish on a 5-point scale: a- focus group Strongly Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly The results from Reid’s PLSPQ agree disagree questionnaire applied to the focus 5 4 3 2 1 group and its teacher are given in tables and figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Reid (1995) classified learning 6. Table 1 and figure 1 show thatstyles as Major, Minor or Negligible. 50% of the class preferred the visualMajor is a preferred leaning style, style (major) and the other 50%Minor is one in which learners can still (minor) can still function well in thatfunction well, and negligible means style. This can also be assured whenthey may have difficulty learning. students want to see everything theWhen the numerical value was teacher says written on the board. Itassigned to the corresponding learning also occurred with class handouts andstyle statement, the numbers were activities in which this style could beadded to obtain a total score and then seen. e.g. Role-plays, mimics, lotteriesit was multiplied by 2 determining the and readings. None of the studentsmajor, minor or negligible learning had a difficulty when using this stylestyle. After that, all the results were (negligible)analyzed to categorize them accordingto the aforementioned learning style Table 1preferences and presented in tablesand figures shown in the findings. POINTS VISUALQualitative data as video-taped NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 0class, field notes, class tasks, peer MINOR 26 - 36 16observation, and students´ evaluation MAJOR 38 - 50 16of the class were utilized to find TOTAL ESTUDIANTES 32out information related to learningstyles, students´motivation and their 84 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  8. 8. teaching and learning crossroads Negligible 0-24 0% Major 38-50 50% Minor 26-36 50% Figure 1. Visual learning style Table 2 and Figure 2 show that activities done in class. 28% of thethe 63% of the participants´ most participants can still function well inrepresentative and popular style was this learning style (minor) and 9% ofthe Tactile (major), this means that the individuals had difficulty learning inthey learnt by constructing things, that way (negligible).taking notes, doing projects. Thisfinding is not similar to any other Table 2research done in this field. It canbe ascertained that in-class tasks POINTS TACTILEwhen learners had to create a poster NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3or designing their own family tree, MINOR 26 - 36 9motivated them since they could MAJOR 38 - 50 20use different materials such as family TOTAL STUDENTS 32photos, scissors, markers, glue,etc and in-class observation, theteacher noticed that throughout thesemester they used this style in all the Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 85
  9. 9. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Juris Negligible 0-24 9% Minor 26-36 28% Major 38-50 63% Figure 2. Tactile learning style Tables and figures 3 and 4 show and 3% may have difficulty learningthat Auditory and Kinesthetic styles had this way (negligible)the same score of preference amongthe students 56% (major learning Table 3style).This is something our researchhas in common with other studies in POINTS AUDITORYwhich students liked to role-play and NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 1listen to their teacher and classmates MINOR 26 - 36 13speak . This could be corroborated MAJOR 38 - 50 18during the video-taped class and the TOTAL STUDENTS 32class tasks when students listened totapes, watched films and videos and Table 4when they rehearsed and presentedactivities related to movement, POINTS KINESTHETICrole-plays,mimics, guessing games, NEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 2touching, and expressing their feelings MINOR 26 - 36 12physically in which they performed MAJOR 38 - 50 18very well. 41% of the students can TOTAL STUDENTS 32still function well with this style (minor) 86 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  10. 10. teaching and learning crossroads Negligible 0-24 3% Minor 26-36 41%Major38-5056% Figure 3. Auditory learning style Negligible 0-24 6% MinorMajor 26-3638-50 38%56% Figure 4. Kinesthetic leraning style Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 87
  11. 11. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Juris Table 5 and figure 5 show that Table 6 and figure 6 show that50% of the students liked to work in the least popular was the Individual,groups, to share ideas, opinions and though it was not negative. 60% ofknowledge (major learning style) while students liked to work individually31% of them can still work well in this whereas 31% of them can stilltype of learning(minor) and the other function well in this style and the rest9% had difficulty when learning in of learners (9%) had a negligiblegroups (Negative learning style). Group learning style. They had difficulty whenwork was a feature that was shown working alone. During oral interviewsby learners throughout the semester they confirmed that they liked to workin class observation, class tasks and in in groups and they said that they didthe video-taped class. not like to work individually. The same happened with in class observation; Table 5 students preferred to work in pairs and in group. Thus, it can be concluded POINTS GROUP that although individuals like to workNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3 in groups they see themselves asMINOR 26 - 36 13 individualistic people and this is aMAJOR 38 - 50 16 TOTAL STUDENTS 32 Colombian culture trait. Negligible 0-24 9% Minor 26-36 41% Major 38-50 50% Figure 5. Group leraning style 88 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  12. 12. teaching and learning crossroads Table 6 b) Target students POINTS INDIVIDUAL As it was mentioned at the beginningNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3 of this task, seven learners wereMINOR 26 - 36 19 chosen to study their major, minorMAJOR 38 - 50 10 and negligible learning styles. The TOTAL STUDENTS 2 findings are shown below: Negligible 0-24 Major 9% 38-50 31% Minor 26-36 60% Figure 6. Individual leraning style Table 7 Student 1 Puntaje Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 24MINOR 26 - 36 32 36 34 34MAJOR 38 - 50 42 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 89
  13. 13. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Juris Table 8 Student 2 Puntaje Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24MINOR 26 - 36 30 34 36 36 34MAJOR 38 - 50 40 Table 9 Student 3 Puntaje Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24MINOR 26 - 36 26 34 34 32 34MAJOR 38 - 50 42 Table 10 Student 4 Puntaje Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 24MINOR 26 - 36 26 26 36 30 30MAJOR 38 - 50 Table 11 Student 5 Points Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24MINOR 26 - 36MAJOR 38 - 50 48 46 38 46 48 38 Table 12 Student 6 Points Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24MINOR 26 - 36MAJOR 38 - 50 40 42 48 50 44 38 90 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  14. 14. teaching and learning crossroads Table 13 Student 7 Points Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24MINOR 26 - 36MAJOR 38 - 50 38 48 38 44 46 48 Table 14 shows that the most introduce a new one. Learners wererepresentative teacher’s learning really interested in both activities as itstyle was the Visual, then the tactile could be seen in peer’s observation.and kinesthetic, then the group and They had fun, laughed a lot andindividual and the least representative participate actively in those activities.was the auditory, although the last one It was also encountered that in spitewas negative for the teacher, she used of the fact, that the teacher had ait in class. negligible auditory style, she used it Table 14 Teacher’s Learning Styles POINTS Visual Tactile Auditory Kinesthetic Group IndividualNEGLIGIBLE 0 - 24 3MINOR 26 - 36 36 36MAJOR 38 - 50 46 42 42DISCUSSION in her classes. For each one of her classes, she prepared activities thatIt was observed that there was dealt with most of learning stylesa match between teaching and in each one of her classes and as alearning styles as it was confirmed result she obtained good student’sin the video -taped class, peer performance and raise student’sobservation of the video and field motivation. In other words, a goodnotes. In the former instrument, the result can be obtained if a teacherteacher shifted from one style to keeps a balance between students´another creating a participating and learning styles and his/her teachingmotivating environment. In this video, style.two activities were recorded: a role It is relevant to study learningplay and a guessing game that the styles because recent studies haveteacher used to practice a topic and to shown that a match between teaching Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 91
  15. 15. María Guadalupe, García Castañeda, Mahela Sofía Figueroa Jurisand learning styles helps to motivatestudents´ process of learning. Thatis why teachers should identify theirown teaching styles as well as theirlearning styles to obtain better resultsin the classroom. The aim is to have abalanced teaching style and to adaptactivities to meet students´ style andto involve teachers in this type ofresearch to assure the results foundin this research study. It is also helpfulto design class tasks in which studentscan deal with their different learningstyles and to know what individualspreferred ways of learning are inorder to determine better teachingstrategies inside the classroom and tomotivate students´ participation in classby creating activities related to theirlearning styles. Bibliography STYLE, Eble (1980) Sunconference.utep.edu/CET aL/resources/ tws/teachingh style.pdf, pp. 95. DUNN, Rita & DUNN, Kenneth (1993) Learning Styles/ Teaching styles: Should They …. Can they… be Matched? Educational Leadership , 36, 1979, pp 238-244 REID, Joy (1995) Learning Styles in the EFL/ESL Classroom. Heinle & Heinle publisher. FELDER, Richard (1995). Learning and Teaching Styles in Foreign and Second Language Education. Foreign Language Annals, 28 (1), pp. 21-31 92 Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93
  16. 16. teaching and learning crossroadsWILSON, Vicky. (1998)Learning How They Learn: A Review ofLiterature on Learning Style. pdf eric.ed.gov,p. 3.ZHENHUI, Rao (2001)Matching Teaching Styles with Learning Stylesfor ESL/EFL Instruction. The Internet TESLJournal, Vol VII, No 7, July 2001.PEACOCK, Matthew (2001)Match or Mismatch? Learning Styles andTeaching Styles in EFL. International Journalof Applied Linguistic, Vol. 11 (1), p. 20. Z O N A P R Ó X I M A N º 8 (2007) PÁGS 78-93 93

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