I am so happy that I decided to attend this seminar/workshop, even though I thought I had it all figured out as far as learning styles go for my own children after reading Mariaemma’s excellent book “Discovering your child’s learning style”.
The seminar was most insightful and I want to share some main points with you that Mariaemma Willis shared with the audience and then encourage you to get a hold of her book, most libraries carry it too, but I own it, because I clearly need it often. See the link below if you want to purchase it after reading the article.
First of all she asked if we had specific questions about anything relating to learning styles and the audience members had the following questions:
What about dyslexia?
What about ADD/ADHD?
How do I teach a class at the same time to multiple students who have multiple learning styles?
So initially, she wanted to demonstrate to us that there is more to learning styles than just modalities (visual, audio, kinesthetic learners etc.). It is also influenced by dispositions, talents, interests & environment. She let us choose from one of 5 groups of items to determine our dispositions and used that aspect of learning styles to discuss the questions the audience members had.
She explained how where we were standing would determine how well we would be able to cope in a regular public school, because the public schools are mainly geared towards a specific disposition (the producer) and would see all the people in the other disposition groups as having a negative impact on the class, e.g. the relating/inspiring disposition, who just wants to interact so badly, will be seen as the kids who talk too much etc.
As a result of all of the above dispositions, children usually get labeled pretty early on in a regular school experience and end up sometimes with titles like ADD/ADHD because of their inventing or performing disposition where they have a hard time sitting still while learning and do better with other teaching methods.
She emphasized that similar things occur with dyslexia and that certain teaching methods can get rid of dyslexia altogether, especially if the child isn’t given that label early on in life.
She suggested to complete the learning style profile with students when a class is taught to multiple children and then to discuss the fact that everyone has a different learning style with the students, so that they can understand why certain kids don’t sit still so easily or why some have to talk so much and it will develop a sense of appreciation for the fact that not everyone on the planet is the same nor do they learn the same way. Students might sometimes have to find solutions for sitting next to a performing disposition friend (who needs to move) while they are the producing kind (organizing, no problem with worksheets), so that both can learn effectively.
The important point that was stressed was that the majority of people on the planet (between 50-60%) do not learn effectively when taught with a teaching style that only caters to the producing disposition, which is the easiest to teach to. They don’t ask too many questions, they don’t talk too much or move too much, and love to plan ahead, just the model students.
I strongly urge you to get a hold of the book “Discovering your child’s learning style” and to do the learning style profiles with your children, so that they will know what works the best for them. It is usually available at the local libraries or by inter library loan too.
There is also another option to purchasing the book. The same company, Learning Success Institute, also offers an online profile (called A Self-Portrait Online), with immediate helpful information and recommendations after you answer the questions. This way, you don’t have to wait for the book to arrive to start making some changes to curriculum to improve learning.
If you decide to use this option, you will also receive a $5 discount on the online profile price if you go through this site.
Stay tuned for more articles.