Hey ECMPers. I would be really interested to here your thoughts on this article, which kind of flies in the face of some of the stuff we've been taught regarding Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. The article offers a lot of compelling points as to why Learning Styles are a myth and don't exist. It also outlines some ways that teaching to learning styles could be problematic in the development of student identity. In what ways have you seen (or not seen) evidence of learning styles in your teaching experiences?
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- There have been some pretty conclusive studies disproving learning styles. It's my opinion that, really, they've disproven using learning styles as a fixed, necessary attribute of a learner. So saying, "Ah, yes, this will be good for the kinaesthetic kids" - that's garbage. On the other hand, providing multiple ways to engage with a topic (including visual, aural, and tactile interactive pieces) will still help students learn. But an individual child's needs? They will change over time (maybe daily) and will change depending on the material (it may help them most to see a picture of a plant cell, but it will help them more to explain out loud how Franz Ferdinand's assassination impacted the start of WWI). So, learning styles as proscriptive? Not good. The idea of engaging students in a variety of ways for each topic? Still carries water.Feb 17, 2016
- Having said that! A good approach to teaching may be entirely inherent to the material being presented. The article gives the example of a map for geography. But I don't think we as teachers will always know the best approach for every subject. So, covering many bases will help ensure we do a good job.Feb 17, 2016
- It should not matter whether or not Learning Styles are scientifically proven. Its like listening to someone explain why chocolate bars are their preference over chips (which I do not think can be proven by science either). It just makes sense to come at lessons and units from different angles because it is more fun for students and teachers that way. I think that we could probably come up with some fun ways to teach about South American geography without students looking at a map. I would guess that most students know how they like to learn, but sometimes it is equally as important to make students learn outside of their preferred learning style.Feb 17, 2016
- Katia HildebrandtOwnerFeb 18, 2016
- Thank's. That's a much more nuanced and reasonable perspective on the issue than a lot of the blogs flying about Twitter to "drive out the snake oil" of educational claims without research backing.Feb 19, 2016
- Thanks very much for your responsesand . I learned a lot from the things you guys said. Zachary you seem like you're quite well read on this topic. I think what you said echoed what was outline in the last paragraph in the article when it states that ability and learning style aren't the same. Just because Billy is athletic doesn't make him a "kinaesthetic learner". Andrew, I think you're on point when you said that it just makes sense to come at a concept from different angles. This should be done to appeal to a variety multiple intelligences within the individual student, as opposed to a variety of learners.
I found that article very informative, Katia. It was nice to get some comment from the theorist of MI. I particularly resonated with the part where he talked about how people claim to be visual learners, which doesn't make a lot of sense since both spatial and reading information occurs through he eyes but make use of completely different mental faculties. "Recognizing this fact, the concept of intelligences does not focus on how linguistic or spatial information reaches the brain—via eyes, ears, hands, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the power of the mental computer, the intelligence, that acts upon that sensory information, once picked up." I think that quote encapsulates some of the resolution I was looking for.Feb 19, 2016