This week’s reading list was a selection of tools to identify the learning styles of oneself as well as the students in the class. Why would this information be important or useful? How great would it be if you as the teacher had prior knowledge of how the individuals in your class can best absorb the information you wish to teach? You can design and develop your curriculum with the help of this useful information. According to the reading assignments entitled Learning Styles and Appendix A; Lesson Plan Terms, Definitions, Ideas and Strategies, there are eight specific learning styles every person can be categorized into. You may even discover you fall into more than one category. These styles include: kinesthetic, logical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, musical, intrapersonal and naturalist. As I was learning about these different styles of learning, I realized that as teachers we can create an activity to determine the students’ learning style using the charts and set of questions discussed in the readings.
Of course for the early elementary levels, you would have to design the activity to be suitable for their age group. This can be done every school year during the first couple weeks of classes. Once this information is attained, you can determine what types of materials can be incorporated into the subject matter that would be best suited for the learning styles in your class. Books, drills, field trips, art, and videos can be determined ahead of time and used within the curriculum. Determining the learning styles of the individuals in your class can also help you determine ways in which you can figure out if the learners understand the subject matter. Would their writing or drawing or performing plays be best in determining their understanding? In addition to the multiple intelligences discussed in the said readings, there is also the independent, self directed type of learner – the autonomous learner. In the reading entitled Designing Courses for Effective Student Learning, the autonomous learner uses a model with five distinct activities to enhance their learning experiences: orientation, individual development, enrichment, seminars, and in-depth study.
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Although the teacher becomes the facilitator in this type of learning, the autonomous learner is responsible for their own learning. They determine their style of learning. According to this reading, the autonomous learner learns to become a life long learner. If this the way to go as a teacher? Are we able to implement such a model in our public classrooms today? Is it even a realistic approach to general education or is this a model best suited for Special Education/Gifted? Determining the learning style of oneself can be an enlightening experience for the teacher and the student. What are my strengths? What activities do I enjoy the most? How best do I learn? You can even determine what career might be suitable for your specific type of learning style. Figuring out the answers to such questions is a great way to understand how to be a better student as well as a teacher.