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Different styles of learning – what’s yours?

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You may remember a post that we published a while back on the complexity of intelligence and whether or not we can really measure this by using quite linear methods such as, IQ tests. Learning styles are directly related to your intelligence and how you develop it. In order to get the most out of your intelligence you need to know what your learning style is and then apply it to your studies.

You’ve all probably already specialised in a particular area and have used your learning style to aid you in succeeding in your academic field. However, have you applied the same learning style when studying a language? If not, you have to start doing this NOW! Learning a language the same way someone else is and not getting the same results can be quite frustrating and at times disheartening. BUT this is no reason to give up; you have to remember that the kind of learning method being imposed on students could suit some and others not so much.

The scholar, Ellis (1985) defined a learning style as a relatively consistent way in which people conceptualise, organise and remember information. An individual’s learning style may be influenced by previous learning experiences, a person’s culture/ social background as well as his/her genetic make-up. The genetic factor influencing someone’s learning style attributes certain personality traits to individuals of each learning style.

zBy understanding each learning style and the personality traits linked to it, a teacher or the individual themselves can begin to mould their teaching methods around this. Below we’ve highlighted some observations about individuals with the main three modalities of learning (Visual, Auditory, and Kinaesthetic).

Visual learners

  • zzThese learners absorb more information when it is presented to them; they then store the images in their brain to remember the information.
  • These individuals are often bookworms, have good handwriting, focus on details and are generally organised.

    BUT

  • They also struggle with verbal instructions and are easily distracted by noise.
  • They are also the kind of people that recognise people’s faces but forget their names.
  • They also tend to get distracted in conversations if they do not keep eye contact.

Auditory learners:

  • zzzUsing verbal language is the main way for exchanging and absorbing information for these individuals
  • These learn by hearing and speaking.
  • This learning style makes these individuals very talkative and social people who may also exceed in creative subjects such as drama and music.

    BUT

  • Some of these learners tend to read slower than other readers and struggle with writing.
  • They are the opposite to visual learners in the sense, they forgtet people’s faces but remember names and voices.
  • You might notice one of these learners reading in a whisper.

Kinaesthetic learners

  • zzzzThese learners learn best by ‘doing’ something, such as moving around and handling physical objects.
  • They are natural explorers.
  • They are coordinated and may flourish in activities such as athletics and performing arts.
  • They are independent learners – they prefer trying new skills themselves rather than being told or shown.

BUT

  • These learners get very agitated if they sit still for long periods of time. This could lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) among such individuals.
  • They struggle with spelling and reading.
  • In the past this has proven to be the most challenging learning style for teachers to approach in the classroom but this has progressed considerably in the last decade.

Do you know which kind of learner you are? If you’re still not sure from the above descriptions, you can do the following quick questionnaire by clicking on the link: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml

Once you know your learning style, you can adapt the way you learn ANYTHING to fit your style. You will notice a huge improvement as soon as you do this. Below we have included some tips to give you some ideas:

Advice for visual learners:

  • Make sure the place where you study is neat and quiet to minimise any possible distractions. Libraries are great places if your room is too chaotic.
  • Write out instructions and write as many notes as you can
  • Use colour to organise your notes and use other visual aids such as, flashcards.

Advice for auditory learners:

  • Play word games to practice language.
  • Read aloud even when alone.
  • Study in small and big groups.
  • Use a personal voice recorder to replace notes.
  • Use songs, beats or rhythms to help you memorise information.

Advice for kinaesthetic learners:

  • Make sure you give yourself breaks frequently.
  • Change study places frequently – desk, floor, bed and sofa etc.
  • Study outside whenever you can.
  • Use games and projects to help you learn.

WCE SOCIAL CLUB IS CHANGING:

WCE has decided to provide social club students with a more interactive way of learning. We are in the process of converting all our handouts into PowerPoint presentations to aid visual learners. We will also be including more videos to help those who prefer to listen other than write and read. Obviously social events on Fridays will continue to suit all learners by being comprised of all sorts of fun activities. Not only will we be helping the environment but most importantly we will be helping you get the most out of your language skills by engaging with your individual learning style.  This should be fully in force from the end of July. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for further updates!

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