It is generally recognized these days that people prefer different learning styles and techniques. We might find some learning styles more dominant in us than others; however, everyone has a mix of learning styles. Our learning styles are not fixed. These might change over time. There is no right mix of these styles. As many types of people, so many combinations of learning styles.
Through the Module 2- supplement, I learned about various theories of learning styles. Most commonly, learning styles can be divided into three:
Since, I am an elementary school teacher, I prefer to use Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence since it talks about various styles rather than just three and it is lot easier for my students to understand about their own learning style:
Out of these 9, Existential intelligence is difficult for my 9-10 year old students to understand, so I focus on the other eight. Once, my students are familiar with these 8, they do a simple test to ascertain their ‘smarts’. Knowing themselves, their strengths and weaknesses help my students in their learning process. The most important implication is in terms of ‘self-confidence’. Usually, I start by asking my class, “who all are smart in my class?” Very few raise their hands in agreement. Then, I tell them that how about if I can prove that each one of them is smart, they sport a look of disbelieve.
Then once they have become familiar with the 8 ‘smarts’ as explained by Gardener, they understand by what I mean by smart. After this, any time, if my students say that something is difficult for them or that they are not as smart as their friends, I always take them back to this Theory of MI and remind them they are smart, though in a different way.
This Theory of MI also help in my teaching as now I know the strengths and weaknesses of my students. Quite often, I give differentiated tasks to my students where they can work using their dominant ‘smarts’.
Now after learning more about the learning styles, I want to use these more in my teaching. I also want to try challenging my students to work using their weaker ‘smarts’. This way, they will venture out of their comfort zones. They might not get a satisfying result but at least they would have tried something new.
This is my HW as a teacher 🙂