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Originally Posted by hreichgott
Isn't it the learner's responsibility to grab onto the material in the way that best suits the learner? The more we know about our own learning styles, the better. (Part of being a kid in school is figuring out what works for you in absorbing material.) But there is no point in expecting a teacher to be a pre-chewer of information perfectly suited to one's own learning style. Especially in a group or classroom learning situation where you are not the only student!

I am extreme enough in my learning styles that it was very helpful for me to know that such a thing existed. If I can get it with musical sound, physical movement/trying to do something myself, or with written words, then I can really get it. If someone tells me a spoken set of instructions I will forget it within 30 seconds. But I clearly remember this being on my first-grade report card, I equally clearly remember my parents saying that I needed to figure out some way to absorb spoken directions, and by the third grade I was writing down spoken instructions as soon as they occurred so that I would have something written to look at later. It never once occurred to me to ask teachers to hand me written directions for everything instead of saying things out loud.

The sort of things that Deborah has been asked to do in the classroom sound awful to me -- it just sounds like coaching students to be as lazy as possible!
Convincing my students that they have some responsibility in learning is an uphill battle because of low expectations in middle school, social promotion, (you fail yet are moved up a grade in middle school), permissive or absent parents and a societal/parental focus on self esteem rather than achievement. Standardized testing and evaluating teachers based on the scores is resulting in dumbed down curriculum that focuses on passing the test. Many teachers will tell you it's easier to give in to parents and let late work, missing work or substandard work slide.

Maintaining high standards is very, very difficult but I persevere. My own husband keeps telling me to slow down, lower my standards, give more A's, make the tests easier, etc ...all to make my job easier. My colleagues have given in and work to a lower standard to get more lazy kids to pass the state test. I can't make myself do it. In the end, many do reach for the bar and come back to tell me they were grateful for the push.

Yes, teaching has become a miserable job. We are blamed for everything when, IMO, the blame rests on the shoulders of litigious parents and on legislators and administrators who pass laws/rules, who have never stood before 5 classes of 32 squirming students a day. Fortunately, I love the kids and I love my subject and I'm darn good at what I do. But, if I could find something else to do to earn a living, I'd leave yesterday.


Best regards,

Deborah
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Deborah, I'm sure you are doing a big difference for some of this kids, more than you'll ever imagine.

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Originally Posted by Karaba
Deborah, I'm sure you are doing a big difference for some of this kids, more than you'll ever imagine.
That's what I keep telling myself. Thanks.


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Deborah
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Quote
Our review of the learning-styles literature led us to define a
particular type of evidence that we see as a minimum precon-dition for validating the use of a learning-style assessment in an instructional setting. As described earlier, we have been unable to find any evidence that clearly meets this standard. Moreover, several studies that used the appropriate type of research design found results that contradict the most widely held version of the learning-styles hypothesis, namely, what we have referred to as the meshing hypothesis (Constantinidou & Baker, 2002; Massa & Mayer, 2006). The contrast between the enormous popularity of the learning-styles approach within education and the lack of credible evidence for its utility is, in our opinion, striking and disturbing. If classification of students’ learning styles has
practical utility, it remains to be demonstrated.
Sorry to skip straight to the summary. Great find. Thanks!

Thanks. This is not an area of expertise for me, but one of great cursory knowledge. The person who is an expert on it is my father, but to say I have an understanding nearing his would be a misrepresentation.

He and I argue these types of questions all the time; that's how I was first introduced to this piece of research -- looking for research with which to argue against him. If I've understood his position correctly, and the article's, I would say he would agree the "learning styles" theory approach is grossly overstated (and probably nearly on par with what these authors presented), but the general theory behind the "meshing" hypothesis holds.

In my own experience, I can only say that I have difficulty learning by ear. I can differentiate greatly, but I am far better at material learning through visual, cognitive, and/or kinesthetic/tactile processing. When I see something, or can manipulate its contents, I almost never forget it; but when I hear something, I usually have a difficult time remembering it. (This may explain why I am terrible with names, but will never forget a face -- even if I've only seen it once, and for only a few seconds.) And of course, the converse might be that my auditory processing works fine, but I've developed the others to a greater degree.

I do, however, understand that when presented with new information, the more ways that information can be presented (compounded), the greater the learning. For example, a powerpoint and a discussion -- hits both visual and auditory. If I remember correctly, this falls under Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (and, more specifically, his eight intelligence modality abilities).

But we're well out of my wheelhouse. Love talking about it, and with an entire family of teachers, it's hard not to, but they usually can provide better input than me. smile

Originally Posted by Karaba
chopin_r_us, can I use your example to talk a bit about representational systems? I would like to know what people here think about that.

Love it! (Great question) smile

I do think that people have learning biases, which lean towards certain neuro-cognitive processing. What I've been contentious of, and what I am unsure of, is whether we can isolate and dictate what causes this phenomenon -- whether it is genetic (bio-), or whether we learn it through a psycho- or social- model. I also wonder if this phenomenon becomes more pronounced over time as we naturally continue to develop our strengths, and possibly ignore or under-develop our weaknesses.

Do you have an expertise in this area? If so, please share! I'm always interested in reading about this subject. smile


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The best learning styles application is vocational vs academic education. We had some semblance of it here after the war and I believe Germany still does - their technical schools are second to none I hear. The UK screwed up the whole idea by 1) not building technical schools 2) dumping 90% of the kids in sink schools 3) allowing the middle class to dominate the grammar schools.

Derulux, I believe your learning style equates with the Vietnamese proverb:

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

that goes for all of us!

Karaba, you're referring to my beautiful hands teaching? Please do - it's one of the corner stones of my practice.


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Thanks!

IMO the representational systems can be a useful tool for teaching.

I’m not going to explain them, but too show some practical examples. For more information you could read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representational_systems_%28NLP%29

We are all familiar to the fact that teachers sometimes have to present the information in multiples ways. So for the student to have a learning insight we have to keep saying the same thing in different and creative ways until sooner or later the student get it. Isn’t it true?

So I will use chopin_ur_s’ example:

Look at your hand. Is its beauty not second to none? There you go, you're relaxed.

It’s a good strategy. He uses the three modes. Most of the students could relax with this help. But maybe not all of them. So, what could we do about that?

First, analyzing the strategy I guessed (true or not) he was using this mental process: visual - kinesthetic - auditory. First he looked at his hands, after he accessed the relaxation sensation, and finally he concluded to himself or out loud, there you go, you’re relaxed.

But maybe it was even more detailed: Look at your hand (visual external), seeing the beauty (visual internal), relaxing the hands (kinesthetic external), feeling the relaxation (kinesthetic internal), and saying there you go (auditory external).

But that maybe doesn’t fit the mental strategy of the student. The difficulty can be that maybe he is not able to find a way to go from visual external to kinesthetic external. Or maybe some internal believes, like I have ugly hands (like me, because of nail biting).

So what about trying different ways to meet the student experience instead of waiting the student to use our strategy?

We could say:

Feel your hand resting on the surface... Look at its natural shape… Now you can say your hand is relaxed. (Maybe my phrases are not the best because I’m not an English speaker :p)
That’s: Kinesthetic - visual – auditory

Or

Give to yourself the internal order to relax your hand... Feel your hand soft and warm… And that’s what a relaxed hand looks like.
Auditory - kinesthetic - visual

Tell your hand to relax… See what changes that produces… now the hand is relaxed and you can learn from this sensation.
Auditory – visual – kinesthetic

Lots of possibilities open from here. I could write more examples but I think the point is clear. Sometimes changing the tone of voice, moving the eyebrows, or touching the student in a key moment can make a big difference in the student experience.

I have good results in myself and others using this modes deliberately. I think is a good tool to have in your toolbox. But a lot of people do it naturally or intuitively any way.

So I would like to know what do you think. Bizarre?

I should clarified, I’m not talking about facilitating the learning process, just the accessing to some experiences, or subjective states. Because I think piano teachers find this difficulty from time to time.

Derelux, I have the same problem with names. That’s what I do when I want to remember: I listen the name of a person (auditory external), then repeat it to myself (auditory internal), then go to the visual (visual external), if there is a physical characteristic to draw my attention (color hear, big eyes) I link it with the name (visual internal) or a funny word that makes my remember the name sound (access auditory internal again). When I complete the process I have a feeling of security (kinesthetic internal). All of that in 3 to 5 seconds. That makes the whole thing very interesting.

If you have consistent problems learning by ear could be because you are already using your auditory channel with internal talk in an unconscious level. Be sure your auditory stays external when introduced to a person.

The same happens with music. When we talk to ourselves we don’t listen to the music.

Last edited by Karaba; 02/22/15 07:24 AM. Reason: add something
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If you think this models are lacking spontaneity, the strategy is simple: do it the same but stay external and make all your internal modes unconscious. lol

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I think you're over complicating. Hand is relaxed - confirm it stays that way by being alert to its beauty. Its not a strategy to learn how to relax the hand but one to monitor the existing condition. Easy with kids, they come with relaxed hands.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I think you're over complicating. Hand is relaxed - confirm it stays that way by being alert to its beauty. Its not a strategy to learn how to relax the hand but one to monitor the existing condition. Easy with kids, they come with relaxed hands.

Did you never find tense hands in beginners?

Well, this example couldn't make me relax my hand as a child, because when pointing at the appearance of my hands I'll would feel shame, not relaxation. (as everyone told me my hands looked ugly because of nail-biting).

Yes, it could look overcomplicating. That’s normal when we analyze in small steps something very familiar, happened to me the same when I learned to analyze music. But, in practice it’s easier than it looks. Really.

And it’s not something to use all the time, just in some situations when nothing else works.

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Originally Posted by Karaba

Well, this example couldn't make me relax my hand as a child, because when pointing at the appearance of my hands I'll would feel shame, not relaxation. (as everyone told me my hands looked ugly because of nail-biting).
It must be the way I tell 'em! smile

and I'm quite serious about that. You're trying to break down my interaction with students into some kind of useful taxonomy. Well, I'm a human and excellent teacher to boot - it can't be done. So yes, with me even you as a child (you're probably too willful now smile ) would have seen the beauty of your hands, and isn't that just the role of a teacher? to lead you towards an aesthetic?

Oh, and no, I've never found tense hands in my beginner kids. Some have come to me from others otherwise.


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I’ve never had a doubt you are an excellent teacher.

And I’m almost sure with you as a teacher I would had finished seen the beauty of my hands.
(Thanks to you and to my willfulness in equal proportion). smile

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Originally Posted by Karaba
But that maybe doesn’t fit the mental strategy of the student. The difficulty can be that maybe he is not able to find a way to go from visual external to kinesthetic external. Or maybe some internal believes, like I have ugly hands (like me, because of nail biting).

So what about trying different ways to meet the student experience instead of waiting the student to use our strategy?

...

Lots of possibilities open from here. I could write more examples but I think the point is clear. Sometimes changing the tone of voice, moving the eyebrows, or touching the student in a key moment can make a big difference in the student experience.

...

I should clarified, I’m not talking about facilitating the learning process, just the accessing to some experiences, or subjective states. Because I think piano teachers find this difficulty from time to time.

You make a very nice, and natural transition here from multiple intelligences to differentiated instruction, and if I'm not mistaken, you end above with accessing prior knowledge. Great flow, and I agree. Many of the "Does my teacher suck?" threads have naturally evolved into unnamed discussions of some of these attributes. I've always found the teachers with more life experience outside the endeavor ("classroom") usually have a much easier time connecting with the students, because they have a much easier time facilitating this kind of discussion and reaching common ground. But the "lofty" ones, the ones who believe the academic is "sacred", and who have very little experience digging in the dirt so-to-speak, usually can't get there.

This digresses a little from the initial query, so I'll stop there. But thanks for the post! smile


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Originally Posted by Karaba
I’ve never had a doubt you are an excellent teacher.
How nice of you to say so. I remember one student was well chuffed when the school nurse said his playing had the sound of flowing water. Funnily enough it's what they said about Chopin in England.

Derulux, 'multiple intelligences to differentiated instruction, and if I'm not mistaken, you end above with accessing prior knowledge.' Do I know those well. frown


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Derulux, 'multiple intelligences to differentiated instruction, and if I'm not mistaken, you end above with accessing prior knowledge.' Do I know those well. frown

Ha! I don't doubt.. they are standard core curriculum for most teaching professionals these days! I always found these catch phrases to be rather like the word "aggregate" in economics. You could replace it with "total" and everybody would know what it meant. But they use a word not everyone knows the meaning of in order to make it sound more important (and probably justify the cost of a $300 textbook). grin


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LOL - I recall many years ago while enrolled a graduate course in reading instruction, one excellent professor presenting the "Neurological Impress Method." She paused thoughtfully after her introduction of the term, and said, "We used to call this the "Readalong" method."

The method is easy, and it works like a h--- d---- in my experience when the fancier stuff fails! Even a patient parent or sibling who can read aloud can use it!

(That prof was equally critical of the "whole language" theory of reading, which was just beginning to show its weaknesses at that date.)

We do make stuff unnecessarily complicated, don't we?


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Originally Posted by LXXXVIIIdentes

We do make stuff unnecessarily complicated, don't we?

Bureaucrats need to justify their jobs.


Best regards,

Deborah
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