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Jan Rieman Inquiry Paper 7 December 2010
Self-Assessment: This has been one of the most interesting and informative topics I have researched. I was not sure if I would be able to find the information I needed, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover an abundance of resources pertaining to this topic. I feel like this is one of my better papers, but there is a lot that needs work. For instance, it seems that my voice does not come out as much in the paper as I would have liked it to because of the quotations. I also would have loved to have elaborated on both sides of the argument a little more if I had the time and more resources. My peer workshop was very helpful because my group was able to provide me with insightful advice and constructive criticism about what was bad as well as what was good about my paper. Overall, even though I¶m sure it could still use a lot of work, I feel pretty good about this paper and I am fairly pleased with the completed product.
Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic«Oh My! Imagine you are sitting in a classroom, and you are trying to learn about a topic that holds little to no appeal for you. Although it is difficult, you are focusing on the information that is being taught and trying to retain it all, but how is it that you are remembering what you are learning? Is the lecturer presenting a slideshow with pictures and diagrams that will be preserved in your memory? Are you able to replay what the professor said, word for word, in
Mayes 2 your mind? Will you return to your organized and detailed notes? These few methods, among several others, are commonly known as learning styles. It is thought by some that every person has a different way of learning, but others would suggest that this idea of learning styles is more of a theory. This concept of learning styles is widely accepted by many people as truth. One of these firm believers in the idea is Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, who is actually the founder and president of Learning Styles Unlimited, Inc., which is a company that has made publications based on tests performed using various methods of learning styles. In one of her books, entitled ³Every Child Can Succeed,´ she claims that ³when you need to remember information, you use at least three basic modes: auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), and kinesthetic (moving). Although each of us uses all three, we often benefit most when we¶re employing our strongest method´ (16). She goes on to express that, while some may feel that a particular learning style is stronger for them than the other methods are, not every person has an absolute most prominent mode of learning. As expressed in a different book, ³The Way They Learn,´ she asserts that ³most people find they are strong in at least two of these modalities, and maybe even all three. No one is restricted to just one modality strength!´ (99). This suggests that everybody is different in their styles of learning. There is not one set way to learn and remember information. How would you discover what your learning style is, might you ask? Tobias recommends for every person to ³try out each approach until you find the one that fits. It may even vary from day to day. The important thing is to find the method of remembering and reviewing that works best for each individual´ (99). She even goes so far as to provide a few tried and true techniques that can be used to determine which type of learner you are. For instance, ³a more auditory learner may really thrive with verbal drill and repetition . . . a strongly
Mayes 3 visual [person] is almost always helped by visual aids such as flash cards, picture, and charts . . . kinesthetic [people] will usually learn more by not always having to sit still´ (³Every Child Can Succeed´ 16,17). There are many other ways that you can experiment with learning skills, but these are just a few to put into practice. Test yourself by using each different method, and you will eventually come across one or more that work well for you. While many believe the popular notion that learning styles do exist, this theory is not for everyone. Some believe that these particular learning methods- auditory, visual, and kinestheticare not real. According to Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham, both college professors of psychology, ³There is no credible evidence that learning styles exist´ (33). These researchers are among many others who question the credibility of this idea of various styles of learning. However, they have formulated their own opinions on the matter, suggesting that ³learners are different from each other, these differences affect their performance, and teachers should take these differences into account´ (33). Although everyone learns at dissimilar paces and in unlike ways, Riener and Willingham assert that set learning styles are far too broad and generalized to place every person into a category. Rather, the teacher should take the diversities of students learning styles, whether it is auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, into consideration and format the curriculum and lesson plans accordingly. Not only should teachers modify the way information is being presented to the students, but there are other ways to determine the learning capabilities of individuals. One of these tactics is to explore the student¶s previous knowledge on a subject. Researcher Catherine Scott writes in her article called ³The Enduring Appeal of µLearning Styles¶´ in the Australian Journal of Education that ³the best predictor of what a student will learn is what he or she already knows, not some aspect of his or her cognitive style or perceptual preference´ (12). She is implying that
Mayes 4 what a person has the capacity to learn is solely determined by what the particular individual already has previous knowledge of. The most effective way to evaluate a person¶s learning abilities is to ascertain the individual¶s erstwhile knowledge on a particular topic before they begin the learning process. This can be done through general testing of knowledge on a subject, such as placement testing, to see how much you already know in order to figure out what more you need to learn. The belief in learning styles is a generally debated topic to which there is no definite answer. Nonetheless, many have formed opinions on the idea, but there is not yet enough indisputable evidence for one side of the argument or the other. After further looking into this topic and researching extensively, I tend to agree with the latter stance that expresses the concept of learning styles as a myth, and a person¶s learning abilities are derived from previous knowledge of a subject and chosen teaching methods. This newfound insight will help to advance my capacity to learn in the future because I now know how to better prepare myself for retaining new information, which will be to learn as much as I can about a certain subject before it is taught to me so that I can better understand the information at hand. Now, you have a brandnew education on the credibility of learning styles and practices you can try to develop your learning abilities; the rest is up to you. What will you do with this information? Go out and learn something!
Mayes 5 Works Cited Riener, Cedar, and Daniel Willingham.³The Myth of Learning Styles.´Change: The Magazine Of Higher Learning 42.5 (2010): 32-35. EBSCO: Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2010. Scott, Catherine. ³The Enduring Appeal of µLearning Styles.¶´Australian Journal of Education 54.1 (2010): 5-17. EBSCO: Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2010. Tobias, Cynthia Ulrich. Every Child Can Succeed. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996. Print. Tobias, Cynthia Ulrich. The Way They Learn. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994. Print.
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