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learning styles?

(20 Posts)
RomanyRoots Wed 12-Sep-18 21:04:53

I hope you don't mind me posting here but wanted to hear from the horse's mouth.

I've heard several teachers say that they don't exist or aren't being considered anymore and wondered if this was general thinking?
My interest is from the pov of seeking employment in support work.
I completed my PgCE (Post Compulsory) in 2008 and learning style activities had to be identified on plans, and as many incorporated in the lesson as possible.
I'm also interested as a parent.


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MsJaneAusten Wed 12-Sep-18 21:56:23

I qualified at a similar time to you and also had to include them in lesson plans, etc. Now, they're really not talked about at all. I think this is good in a way as the focus is very much on meeting individual needs / differentiation and on getting through the bloody exams but personally, I liked 'learning styles' as it reminded me of the need for variety in my lessons. I have a few very low ability groups and I've been trying to go back to some of the learning style stuff for them (ensuring I get some kinesthetic / visual / aural stuff in most lessons)

RSTera Wed 12-Sep-18 22:05:40

I think it's pretty much debunked as a hard neurological phenomenon.

The way I look at it is that people learn better when they are happier/ more comfortable because it is easier to focus in that state, and individuals like/ feel more comfortable with different types of tasks.

I, for example, feel most comfortable learning by myself from a book. Am I a 'visual learner'? No, just a fecking lazy one who doesn't like to get out of her seat. Other people like to get up and do stuff, other people like to talk to people about what they are learning.

I can only imagine, that if you make sure all kids in you class sometimes get to learn in the way that makes them happier/ more comfortable, they will be more engaged and therefore learn better.

echt Wed 12-Sep-18 22:07:02

In a nutshell, teaching styles matter, i.e. you wouldn't teach some how to kick a football by having them an essay about it. It's about what needs to be taught, and the most effective method, not the imagined needs of individuals based on pop psychology quizzes.

PurpleDaisies Wed 12-Sep-18 22:07:18

The research was used to justify all sorts of initiatives that it was never intending to support. Try learning to crochet without using the “kinaesthetic” style of learning.

RomanyRoots Wed 12-Sep-18 23:08:18

A stupid question?

How can you make sure everyone is included and all the old learning styles are covered.
I can see the point in treating all learners individually, but don't understand how it works, having had V.A.K rammed down my throat for a few years. grin
I left after this sad

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RomanyRoots Wed 12-Sep-18 23:09:55

Oh, missed all the other posts, many thanks will have a look at the links and come back tomorrow.

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MissMarplesKnitting Wed 12-Sep-18 23:10:23

VAK is pretty much laughed at these days. And brain gym. Rightly so. Nobody is entirely one or even mostly one all the time. We vary it task to task.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 12-Sep-18 23:11:43

They're bollocks. But if you teach a whole class with all styles, everyone stays interested so it seems as if it works. I think that's why it was so popular and pervasive.

RomanyRoots Fri 14-Sep-18 20:28:02

So from a parents pov what is the best way to get them to learn information, e.g does rote learning work for everybody?

I would like to find activities for my dd to help through her GCSE's but worksheets seem a bit boring, if this is all I find?

Also has anybody had any positive feedback for learning through these type of things? There seem to be several about for various topics.

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MrsTerryPratchett Sat 15-Sep-18 01:40:16

I think, and this is NOT an informed opinion, that she should know by GCSE what works for her. What does she think works for her studying?

noblegiraffe Sat 15-Sep-18 09:04:11

what is the best way to get them to learn information

A poor way to learn information is to just sit and read it. Or to laboriously copy it out. Or to spend ages elaborately colouring in notes.

Evidenced ways to help information stick in the brain are:

Spaced practice: (coming back to the same topic at intervals - look up Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve to see why this is necessary)

Retrieval practice: don’t just read the causes of World War II, try to remember the causes of World War II first - e.g. write as much as you can remember, dredging your memory, then look at the revision guide and add the bits that you missed. The act of trying to remember helps fix the information in your brain

Self-testing: flashcards with questions on one side, answers on the back, getting parents/friends to test you

Visuals can also help - representing the information in a diagram (e.g. how a volcano works) or a timeline (history).

The best way to learn maths is to do shedloads of practice questions, checking answers and correcting mistakes along the way.

claraschu Sat 15-Sep-18 09:17:09

One of the fascinating things about having my two boys was seeing how differently they learned.

One of them liked to hear and follow instructions, and also grasped abstraction very quickly and easily (for instance in learning arithmetic).

The other boy refused to listen to anything anyone told him, but was a great mimic, so wouldn't get into a pool for months, and then suddenly, almost over night, could swim quite long distances. This child also was terrible with mathematical abstraction, and learned much better by playing with cuisinaire rods, piles of small objects, etc.

Their learning styles were so different!

HopeClearwater Sun 16-Sep-18 15:54:23

think it's pretty much debunked as a hard neurological phenomenon

The REALLY irritating thing is that it had been comprehensively debunked as a hard neurological phenomenon when the teacher training colleges were promoting it.

RomanyRoots Sun 16-Sep-18 16:06:18

Thank you all very much for the links and comments. I am getting there slowly but surely.
many thanks for the learning advice too, I'll make sure this is taken on board.

She says what she prefers, but tbh there's been no success with any particular way up until now. She usually tries to avoid it and has only just managed to get her attitude to learning on the right tracks.
A result above 30% for core subjects hasn't happened yet.
She is trying to

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Handbaghag Sun 16-Sep-18 16:16:12

Ex teacher over 22yrs here both before and after VAK which apparently was reduced from 11 different styles.I I realised the basic ones still mattered when training pgce students. One was quite obviously an auditory learner as that's how he taught.. By speaking. I lost track because he had nothing on the board. Basically I used to teach in quite a visual way and find that teaching science hit all the bases if it was a practical lesson. I certainly found that model making, modelling with visuals, card games etc helped with lower ability sets, but for some higher ability kids kinaesthetic activities for the sake of them was yawnsome. It's more about making sure the kids can access the learning in whatever way possible.

FlyTipper Sun 16-Sep-18 16:22:18

What about different intelligences? A favourite of mine was 'naturalistic' intelligence - an ability to connect with the environment or something. They were all somehow connected, these 'intelligences' and learning types. So, a good way to start a lesson was with music, a change of tempo for engaging brainwaves. Then you would go into some brain gym, a spot of mind mapping. What about a quick questionnaire to figure out what your learning type was?
I am annoyed this stuff was pumped down to us from on high - the school in which I was trained was full of it at the time (2006). There was apparently tons of 'evidence'. Looking back, I think it was the influence of some self-promotors who went around training teachers and writing books, then somehow this became 'how to teach'. Depressing.

Soontobe60 Sun 16-Sep-18 16:23:45

When my DD took her GCSEs and A levels, she revised by making note sheets on each topic several times, and sticking them all over her walls. Creating spider diagrams, lists, cartoon images.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 16-Sep-18 16:28:21

The REALLY irritating thing is that it had been comprehensively debunked as a hard neurological phenomenon when the teacher training colleges were promoting it.

This. Learning styles were debunked decades ago. The only reason they got so much traction was companies using them to flog resources and training. Teaching is irritatingly full of magical thinking.

Current evidence is that a range of teaching styles is better and you should avoid only giving things to kids in a format they prefer- instead pushing them to try new ways of learning. For example is you have kids who struggle with written work, they need more practice with written work (using appropriate support).

HopeClearwater Sun 16-Sep-18 19:21:54


Everything this poster said ^

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