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Learning Styles
Old 01-30-2014, 04:29 PM
 
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Does anyone have a good learning styles inventory that would be good for 3rd graders? It could be online or paper/pencil.


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Learning Style
Old 01-31-2014, 05:35 AM
 
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theory has been debunked for a few years now. Read the articles below and then ask yourself if completing an inventory would be worth the time for your students and how you would apply the results to your teaching.

https://www.psychologicalscience.org...gists-say.html

http://www.changemag.org/Archives/Ba...ning-full.html

http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2070611
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Interesting...
Old 02-01-2014, 06:43 AM
 
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Thanks for sharing. My principal is asking that we do these with our kids as a part of our evaluation to show that we really know our kids.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:56 PM
 
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I am a former special ed teacher and vehemently disagree with the articles. I myself am a visual learner. The best and easiest way for me to learn is to see and do. I've worked with hundreds of children and have seen growth using the learning differences of children.

I'll be glad to search for you. Can't remember off the top of my head. I also have a test but it is at work.
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Learning Style Theory
Old 02-02-2014, 07:25 AM
 
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I am also a former sped. teacher, 24 years and was thoroughly indoctrinated in learning style theory... and now I'm in my 13th year of gen. ed. instruction.

Of course there are "styles" of learning, but they really aren't styles...they are preferences. Some people prefer to learn visually, some in an auditory manner, some kinesthetically, some prefer a mix. There is just no scientific evidence at this point that teaching entirely to the preference actually increases the student's natural ability to learn the material.

Most teachers today differentiate, they include all the styles in their lessons, or they should. Whether this helps students understand concepts using whatever preferences they have or because of repetition is unknown.

In the case of the op, it just seems that giving a learning styles test to appease her prince's need for proof that she knows her students is a waste of time, unless she is presenting all her lessons in one mode. Then the principal has a point that needs to be made to the teacher, which could be better expressed as "I want you to include more modes of learning into your lessons." (I'm not assuming anything about the OP, I'm sure you do just fine...just using this a an example. )

Another problem with learning style inventories is that they are self-reported events and I've had many a student tell me they were purely auditory learners when I knew for a fact they were anything but...these students are the ones, who needed multiple repetitions of verbal information, who needed to re-read and reconsider visual information several times, and possibly re-write information to put the info into long term memory and who were simply not motivated enough to actually put in the effort and do the work required for them to actually keep the info in long-term memory. Everyone wants to be an auditory learner, it requires the least amount of effort.

In fact, I was one of those convinced I was an auditory learner, until I started not doing well in high school and learned the hard way that in certain circumstances I too needed to put forth the effort to re-read and re-write information, and that just listening to something over and over didn't input particular types of information permanently. Once I realized that as long as I put forth the effort to re-read and sometimes to draw, outline or re-write the info, the learning stuck.

Who knows, maybe in the future better experiments will be developed to give more support to the "theory" of learning styles, but right now, the data just isn't there based on what has been done.

There is still so much to be learned about how our brains really work and how that can actually be applied to learning.

Here is one more article that explains how some knowledge of learning styles really does help in the classroom. (But it isn't about classifying or categorizing students into learning styles. It's about constructing better lessons.)

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012...arning-styles/


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Old 02-02-2014, 08:13 AM
 
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"...Once I realized that as long as I put forth the effort to re-read and sometimes to draw, outline or re-write the info, the learning stuck..."

But isn't that the same as being a visual learner? That once you saw it on paper, especially drawings and outlines, you understood it?

That's definitely how I am too - and whether any studies say it makes sense or not, I absolutely do learn faster if I read something than if hear it. I automatically translate incoming information into my learning "preference", and I think finding out our students' styles, and showing them how to do that, certainly can't hurt.
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Learning Styles
Old 02-02-2014, 12:39 PM
 
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It's not about learning faster, it's about learning permanently; keeping info in long term memory, being able to mentally manipulate that information and that learning styles change with age, experience, demographics and what one is being asked to learn.

It's only with certain things that I need to reinforce my learning with visuals. My abstract spatial skills aren't great, so visuals help as do written directions. I have a phenomenal auditory memory for things presented in narrative format and vocabulary, though. For learning computer programs, I must DO the program, telling me how to do so verbally, or even worse, grabbing the mouse or taking over the finger pad and showing me, doesn't work well for me. So, my learning preference, whether visual, auditory, kinesthetic or a
mix depends on the task and how much effort I'm willing to expend to learn it. And the vast majority of the population is like this. My husband is an artist and craftsman of sorts and has great spatial skills... he draws pictures of our home renovations for me so I can visualize them and I help him with complicated story lines and condensing complicated scenarios he hears and can't remember because his auditory verbal processing is slower than mine.

The issue I have with learning style inventories is that younger children (I've worked with 1st grade through 10th) don't know what their learning style is. What students "think" they prefer and how they really learn are most likely two very different things. Students all want to think they are auditory learners because it requires the least amount of effort on their part.

If teachers incorporate the 3 "styles" into their lessons as much as possible, everyone gets a shot at learning according to their preference and practice using the other styles. In a class of 18 to 25 third grade students, how many do you think will say they prefer auditory learning? How many do you think are truly, purely auditory learners? In that same class, how many are purely visual learners that don't do even better with verbal input? What do you think the chances of having any number of learners who are purely one style? How much value can we place on the self-reports of 8-9 year old students? Do these students need to reach a certain level of maturity and real self-awareness before they can even begin to figure out what their learning "style/preference" is? Does learning style vary by task? And what are you going to do with the results, how will that inform your teaching?

I think the last article I linked has the most 2 salient points (quoted below) about learning styles and that if a teacher keeps these points in mind while constructing their lessons, they are meeting the burden of proof for a standard of “knowing their students.”
“First, students benefit from encountering information in multiple forms. They learn more, for example, from flashcards that incorporate both text and images—charts, graphs, etc.—than from cards that display text alone.
Second, students’ interest is kept alive by novelty and variety, so regularly turning away from textbooks and blackboards is key. As long as the new activity genuinely informs the students about the academic subject at hand, clapping a math lesson—or sketching in science class, or acting during story time—can help every student to learn better.”
It’s always hard to take those “sacred theories” we’ve all been taught and revise our thinking based on new evidence, or lack thereof, but if we didn’t we’d still think the Earth was the center of the universe, miasma’s cause illness, and that stress causes ulcers. It is especially hard when we don’t have time to read and mull over the research because we are so busy jumping through every hoop that comes rolling our way these days.
Right now, for me, there just isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to justify using a self-reporting learning style inventory to manage classroom instruction or that this inventory would be a reliable indicator to me or a principal that a teacher “knows” his/her students. The teacher, students and principal’s time would be better spent using and documenting other educational practices that would be beneficial to everyone.
And yes, in a professional manner, I would challenge my current principal on this issue, but I’ve been around for decades, and he is an ex-coach who last taught in an actual classroom 30 years ago, for all of 2 years, and wouldn’t really understand or even care what my points are here. After 3 minutes of listening to me he would just say ”never mind, forget I asked and what do you want me to check off on your evaluation here” in order to get me off his back. My ex-principal and I would have had a great discussion on the issues and reached some sort of compromise or an alternative to provide proof that I “know my students.” The OP may not be able to do so, so I hope someone can help her with her original request.

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Old 02-02-2014, 08:03 PM
 
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Parker i understand your comment about individual tests but I will agree to disagree.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Does anyone have a good learning styles inventory that would be good for 3rd graders? It could be online or paper/pencil.
Just ran across this on Pinterest today:
http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/201...arning-styles/

Ignoring the homeschool bias, it looks like it has some links that might be what you're looking for.
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Something to share
Old 02-05-2014, 09:47 PM
 
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There's this amazing website I heard about in a workshop I attended that this professor created that has to deal with increasing achievement using exactly what it is that you're talking about. This website might be something to share with your principal and there's a demo available for you to check out. What I liked was that it gives the students a learning assessment survey and then uses the entire classroom to create a breakdown of the learning profiles of your students. It then offers lesson plans to accommodate the majority as well as integrate building of those students who need that balance. Just love sharing things and saw this opportunity. http://www.increaseachievement.com/index.php


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Old 02-07-2014, 06:26 PM
 
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One last comment.

Especially when I taught special ed I taught students about their learning styles. If they know how they learn best they are able to get the teacher to teach the way they learn.

If students are a visual learner and the teacher is a talker I taught students to ask the teacher if they could draw a picture, show a graph, etc.

There are several good reasons we need to know and students as well about learning styles.

In my 40 years of teaching I've never thought it a problem to know my students learning styles and always thought students should understand how they learn. That way they can take part in their learning.
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