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Three different Responses and Perspectives on The Myth of Learning Styles by Cedar Riener
- Challenging the Notion of Learning Styles | Faculty Focus
The idea of learning styles can constrain learners. If a student thinks she’s a visual learner and the instructor is not supporting the presentation of material visually, then the student may think she can’t learn it.
Response #1 I don’t believe in learning styles
After reading The Myth of Learning Styles by Cedar Riener and Daniel Willingham I have come to the conclusions that learning styles are a myth. I believe that everyone may have a favorite way of learning, but that does not mean that they have a “learning style”. For example if one were to claim that they had a learning style where they learned best from enacting the material in a series of movements, then I think they would have a very difficult time understanding math. I just don’t see how anyone could learn math from “enacting it in a series of movements”. However it is completely possible in my mind that the person prefers to learn this way, but that does not make it a learning style. For this kinesthetic approach to be considered a learning style an educator would have to be able to improve the performance of those who have a strong preference for the kinesthetic approach by using this approach in all areas. I feel learning is more impacted by the level of the student’s interest instead of their “learning style”. If a student prefers to move around then he or she could claim that they had a kinesthetic learning style, but this would only be true if by using this style the student improved in every area. I also believe that if a person grew up around a parent/guardian that believed that he or she had a certain learning style then the child might copy their parents by saying that they have the same learning style because that’s how they learned thing from their parent/guardian while growing up.
Response #2 I completely disagree Learning Styles Do Exist
I completely disagree with this article I myself have a kinesthetic learning style and I learn best when I am moving. I personally feel that my learning style was influenced by the fact that both of my parents were always moving around and being active when I was younger. The active environment I grew up in has caused me to develop a kinesthetic learning style because I always feel like I should be moving around. For instance when I study for tests I bounce on a yoga ball or I set up my learning material around the room by topic so that I move around when studying the different areas. I find then when I incorporate moving into my learning or studying I get better grades. I have yet to find I class or subject where this method does not get me positive results; this even helps me with math! I think that there is no conclusive proof that learning styles exist because while the learning styles where incorporated in the learning process they were not incorporated in the testing process. I believe I would do even better on my tests if they had a movement element in them, perhaps auditory learners would test better if their test was read to them, and visual learners might do better if their test was given to them in a slide show. I also believe that people should be asked on a yearly basis what their learning style is because some people’s learning styles may change as they mature. As I have matured my learning style has mostly stayed the same the only change is that I don’t feel like I have to be moving all the time, but I do learn best while moving around. One thing I do agree with from the article is the fact that everyone has different background knowledge, interests, and abilities that need to be taken into account by the educator in order to help everyone learn to the best of their abilities.
Response #3 I don’t know much about learning styles
Before reading this article I had heard of learning styles, but I never really gave too much thought to what they were beyond that all of my teachers would hand out a questionnaire at the beginning of the year that asked me if I had a learning style, what my learning style was, and how do I learn best. For me these were just questions I answered based on what class the teacher taught and what way I thought would be the most fun or least boring way to learn the subject. In English I would always write that I liked visual elements like movies and clips, for math I would always say I learn best when moving around, and for science and history I would write that I learned best when auditory elements were used instead of textbook readings. After reading this article I wonder how many people who claim to have a learning style are just picking the most enjoyable way of learning for them. I feel that I completely agree with that article when it says, “Students may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning.” This sentence fits me to a tee I have ways that I prefer to learn, but they differ from subject to subject and I am not sure if they improve my learning or just make it more interesting. If people did have learning styles I would also assume that they may change as the person matures making it difficult to judge if the person really had a learning style or if they just enjoyed a certain method of learning.