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Different learning styles

(27 Posts)
Bookaboo Wed 15-Mar-17 08:30:57

Everyone has a different style of learning and I see this in my DS and his friends. I was wondering how this is accommodated in a class of 30, if at all.
It occurred to me that DS is expected to be able to pick up the pace of his learning and follow things in class more quickly, but he's the kind of person who likes to think about things and digest them properly. He doesn't perform well when put under pressure to get something done quickly. I would say he is a reflective learner.
However, it seems as though kids like this and the natural difficulty they have with the speed they do things is somehow seen as though they are failing.

Does anyone know if this is generally taken into account in primary teaching? KS1?

Ginmummy1 Wed 15-Mar-17 08:49:48

DD is in Y1, and at parents’ evening the teachers made a big thing of how ‘top table’ are often given shorter timeframes to complete the same tasks as the others, or alternatively have to show more examples of something within the allotted time. Also, another mum friend said her DD was moved off top table because she was working too slowly. The friend was reassured by the teachers that her DD was covering the same ‘top’ material but that the second table was given more time to complete the tasks.

This ‘top table’ and ‘speed’ focus feels quite old-fashioned to me, but certainly the way my DD is taught appears to rate the ‘faster’ children over the ‘reflective’ children. I think it is a bit of a concern!

Trifleorbust Wed 15-Mar-17 09:16:41

Teachers will have some strategies to try to accommodate different learning styles, for example, allowing different lengths of time to complete a task, offering thinking time etc. But it is within reason - they won't be designing different lessons for each child.

irvineoneohone Wed 15-Mar-17 09:18:08

Same at ds' school.
Ds is made to break his own records in maths in the name of extension.
Children are made to compete each other on live mathletics.
It's good up to certain degree, but need to be faster, and even faster is silly imo.

Trifleorbust Wed 15-Mar-17 09:19:56


Surely getting quicker with simple calculations in Maths is part of mastering the skill set?

WorkingBee Wed 15-Mar-17 09:20:26

This theiry has been widely discredited and research finds it to be of little use in practice.

WorkingBee Wed 15-Mar-17 09:20:52


irvineoneohone Wed 15-Mar-17 09:31:51

Trifleorbust, how fast do they need to go though?
My ds has beaten ks1 maths leader with times table battle in yr2.
He has beaten ks2 maths leader on live mathletcs.(mental maths challenge).

Trifleorbust Wed 15-Mar-17 09:35:40

irvineoneohone: With Maths I would argue the quicker, the better!

Rinceoir Wed 15-Mar-17 09:44:15

I teach postgraduates and try hard to accommodate different learning styles- using a mix of flipped classroom, formal lectures, interactive small group sessions, online and in classroom quizzes, problem based learning and assignments. I have the utmost respect for teachers of small children who have to try to accommodate different students within a classroom!

Bookaboo Wed 15-Mar-17 12:55:02

Thanks everyone. Interesting article workingbee, but whether or not there is scientific grounding to the theory, I've witnessed it myself.

I think maths is probably a bit different to other subjects, in that I would agree there is value in being able to carry out calculations quickly.

I wouldn't expect lessons to be designed for every individual child, but I'm more concerned about the overall view there seems to be that faster is better, when that's just never going to work for some people.

Feenie Wed 15-Mar-17 13:00:58

However, since at the end of Y6 they are assessed using timed tests, ponderous and more reflective thinking is neither here nor there!

Trifleorbust Wed 15-Mar-17 13:05:35


Unfortunately I think the children will learn that, in exams as in life, faster is generally considered to be preferable! Obviously not everyone can do things quickly, so it's a shame the world works like that.

mikado1 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:07:10

Speed at maths is great but not if accuracy is lost while flying through work- this is very common. Careful and quick, in that order, is my priority. I think the whole top table thing is awful, I'm assuming kids aware, glad we don't have this (Ireland).

irvineoneohone Wed 15-Mar-17 13:17:13

I think speed and reflective thinking is both important and both should be encouraged in primary.

mrz Wed 15-Mar-17 17:29:32

*"*^*Everyone has a different style of learning*^*"* actually that's a myth ...

mrz Wed 15-Mar-17 17:39:31

QuackDuckQuack Wed 15-Mar-17 18:06:15

The thing that has been debunked is the auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. I'm not sure that is the same thing as the OP is describing in terms of a preference to assimilate and digest information before responding to it.

Bookaboo Wed 15-Mar-17 18:08:59

It's not a myth just because it's in the guardian. Did you read the very short thread before posting mrz ? Speed before accuracy or relevancy hey? So much for that!!

Anyhow, i thought the gist of the article was that it wasn't worth schools going to great expense to implement specialised teaching on the basis of this theory, rather than poo pooing it altogether.

2014newme Wed 15-Mar-17 18:11:31

Slower ones ate not expect ted to complete same amount of work e.g for some writing even one sentence is good.
All children have individual targets. In year one they knew what these targets were.
Children arenot expected to all achieve the same level. And they still spend plenty time playing.

mrz Wed 15-Mar-17 18:18:59

No bookaboo I only read your post ...and if you don't like the a Guardian summary try

Etc etc etc

irvineoneohone Wed 15-Mar-17 18:22:45

I think what your ds has is very precious, op.
It's easy to become faster with practice, but "think about things and digest them properly" doesn't come naturally to a lot of people.
I would embrace his style, and I think he will do well in the long run, imo.

Bookaboo Wed 15-Mar-17 18:38:50

Thank you quack, perhaps these ideas are being mixed up?
2014 I'm a bit uncomfortable with the term 'slower' with reference to a child. To me, it implies a deficit.

Thanks irvine. I don't know if it is easier to become faster with practice. If he's like me, he'll still be practising when he's almost middle aged smile

Bookaboo Wed 15-Mar-17 18:39:29

Meant to say thanks for the other links mrz, will have a look at those.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 16-Mar-17 12:28:39

I think it is a difference in the value placed on different skills at different education stages. In primary the focus is partly on speed because things such as times tables are more useful if done quickly. In secondary the emphasis begins to shift towards evaluation. Dd1 is finding that her skills are more valued in secondary than primary. There is still a large focus on memory and recall.

At tertiary level the emphasis moves even further towards evaluation / deep thinking and speed and memory are not as highly valued because calculators and computers take over much of the speed aspect. There is also an emphasis on skills. Being able to calculate an ANOVA at speed is of little value - knowing when, how and why to use one is more important. I think this is partly why some students who are very quick early in primary struggle sometimes when the work is less speed dependant and more reliant on deep thinking. I also think it partly explains 'late developers', they have just moved into a neiche environment which values evaluation and accuracy over speed.

By PhD level it is largely slog rather than speed of thinking - obviously though to reach that a lot of fast thinking will have happened earlier in schooling.

At KS1 I would see it as an artifact of the skills required at this stage unless his teachers are expressing concerns.

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