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Learning styles


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Learning Styles Essay
Eduardo Cortés Sánchez
Inglés 2

Published in: Education
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Learning styles

  1. 1. Learning styles<br />The big challenge in the classroom is developing an interesting methodology that implies the learning styles of the pupils. In fact, teaches must consider that every person has one or more learning styles but also learning strengths and learning weakness. <br />According to Riener & Wilingham (2006) the most popular current conception of learning styles equates style with the preferred bodily sense through which one receives information, whether it be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. <br />Learning styles could be considered also as variables in the process of learning, which has many elements that work interactively between them, as an example, Keefe, (1979) diagrams the school learning process as a triangle of interaction between the learning enviroment, the teaching style, and the learning style of the students. <br />First of all, the process learning is a wide field but the truth is that it is important to consider some facts about theory, research, and methodology in psychology that laid the Gardner’s Theory of intelligence.<br />Howard Gardner was an educator for more than two decades, the main contribution that is well-known it is that he challenged the classical view of intelligence. Gardner creat his theory of Multiple intelligences in response to his beliefs, he though that traditional methods for assesing the intellect were not sufficiently for measure the wide range of intelligent behavior.<br />Gardner’s original theory ofmultiple intelligences consists of three components, seven “intelligences,” and eight supporting criteria of what comprises an “intelligence”, which is defined by him as the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings. <br />Actually, the explanation of Gardner’s definition includes the important assumption that the process of problem-solving set the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge, wo could understand that this process is critical in the development of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, or motor learning, a fundamental component of vocal technique.<br />Gardner introduce those seven intelligences explaining that these intelligences are fictions ( useful fictions) and they could be useful for discussing processes and abilities that are continuous with one another. So, as we turn our attention to the specific intelligences, we must emphazise that they exist not as physically verifiable entities but only as potentially useful scientific constructs. <br />Now it is important to understand that the study of the different intelligences (linguistic/verbal, musical, logical/mathematic, spatial/visual, bodily/kinesthesic, interpersonal and intrapersonal) could be a tool for the teacher in order to addres some activities that help them in the classroom. Reid (1998) suggest that the more awareness students have of their own intelligences and how they work, the more they wll know how to use that intelligence to access to the necessary information and knowledge from a lesson. Lazear (1998) suggest four stages to teach with multiples intelligences:<br />Awaken the intelligence (stage 1) it is related to a particular intelligence can be activated trhough exercises and activities that make use of sensory bases (the five senses), intuition or even metacognition. A clear example is when you are teaching vocabulary to describe things, you might bring many different items to class because the students can touch something sof, rough, cold or smoth, an so on.<br />Amplify the intelligence (stage 2) it is focusing on improving and strenghtening the intelligence, evidently with use and practice. Now the student have to add information and increase their knowledge into the clasroom. <br />Teach for/with intelligence (stage 3) it is about emphasizing and using different intelligences in the teaching learning-process. The teacher must consider structure the lessons according to cooperative work, such as working in small groups.<br />Transfer of the intelligence (stage 4) is concerned with going beyond the classroom, with the integration of intelligence into daily living such as solving problems and challenges in the real world. So, the teacher could ask some reflective questions about the lesson in order to understand the whole idea. <br />The truth is that teachers must imply the use of strategies in the process of learning, actually the term “learning strategy” according to Oxford & Nam, (1998) is a technical phrase that means any specific conscious action or behavior a student takes to improve his or her own learning. In fact, learning strategies choices are often related to preferred learning styles, as an example, a student who has a strongly visual learning style tends to use the strategies of taking notes, whereas a kinesthetic learner tends to use the strategies that allow them use their senses. <br />However, the problematic of studyng English in this level (junior high school) is that the motivation of the students is bassically low, so, the teachers have to deal with this big challenge: how to encourage learner independece in the study of english, evidently using the learning styles. So, the teacher have to consider the strategies for improving language skills, students could be introduced to, and given practice in, techniques and strategies such as selective listening, skimming scanning, and so on. <br />The importance of the teacher as a guide, it is because he helps students according to their needs, to focus on those areas where they feel they need the most help. So, the teacher must be creative, use their freedom and do not use the inefective ways (traditional) and replace for those that are highly recommended using the learning styles, in order to be efective in the process of language learning.<br />As a conclusion, I think that the teacher is the main responsible to provide multiple opportunities for their students to investigate and identify their learning styles. However, students need to cooperate with teachers in matching teaching and learning styles because it could be a useful tool to inform their teacher when classroom approaches and activities are not meeting their needs. Finally, it is absolutely difficult but the students should also learn to become more tolerant of the complex situation of foreign language learning because such tolerance will serve them well in adjusting to different learning styles, and will allow them to work to strengthen their weaker learning style preferences, in order to become more autonomous in their learning.<br /> <br />References BIBLIOGRAPHY Keefe. (1995). Considering classroom dynamics. In J. M. Reid, Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom (p. 264). Boston, Massachusets: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.Leazar, D. (1998). Creating lesson plans. In J. M. Read, Understanding learning styles in the second language classroom (p. 207). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Oxford, R., & Nam, C. (1998). Learning styles and strategies of a partial bilingual student diagnosed as learning disablead: a case study. In J. M. Reid, Understanding learning styles in the second language classroom (p. 206). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Reid, J. M. (1998). Understanding learning styles in the second language classroom. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.Riener, C., & Wilingham, D. (2006). The myth of learning styles. New York: Random House.<br />