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Teaching to Learning Styles

Greetings!

Today's post is about learning styles. One of the most important things that helps teachers provide better instruction is the knowledge of a student’s learning style. My belief is based upon the teachings of noted educational theorist, Dr. Howard Gardner. Dr. Gardner posits that there are “multiple intelligences,” that define our individual learning styles and complement each other (by working together) through our learning processes. His 1983 book, Frames of Mind, detailed his initial findings in this area.

In my educational practice, I attempt to identify my students' learning styles by doing extensive diagnostic testing in the very beginning. In my tutoring classes this may consist of having students to write a paragraph or two in the target language we are studying or work some basic math problems. Diagnostics also include inquiring about student preferences, because students generally do better in the areas that they like. After diagnostics, I set a plan that is in keeping with the students' basic academic needs, in accordance with personal preference.

Dr. Gardner’s eight multiple intelligences are as follow: spatial (visual) intelligence, linguistic (verbal) intelligence; musical (auditory) intelligence; bodily-kinesthetic intelligence; logical-mathematical intelligence; interpersonal (interaction) intelligence; intra-personal (introspection) intelligence and naturalistic intelligence. Gardner's use of the word “intelligence” is linked more to one’s potential, aptitude or ability and, once I know a child’s preference, potential and aptitude in these areas, I can tailor some of my teaching to meet his or her needs.

For example, a child who hates Spanish, but excels in music will learn Spanish best by catchy songs and rhythms. Similarly, a child who excels in dance may want to learn Spanish if he or she can learn participate in the school’s Salsa Dance Team. My students who are extremely social beings do better when paired in cooperative learning assignments (pair or group work) with other students. Alternatively, my students who value reflection and introspection enjoy working along often and writing in journals.

The quote below is a very powerful statement in regard to the impact of teachers upon learners, based upon learning styles:
“If a child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns."(Rita Dunn, - from Anne Bruetsch's Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan Book)

Let's discover your or your child's learning style and develop a plan for academic and personal success!

Patricia G.

Woodbridge tutors