The variety of teaching and learning methods which is used within a course is an important factor in creating a course with interest to students. They range from teacher led, e.g. lectures, to being student led e.g. such as group discussions. As students have different learning styles they benefit most when taught in their preferred style, research shows that it is beneficial to all students to receive information in varying styles. Additionally, instruction in their preferred style can create understanding. Then by further instruction of the same topic but being delivered by different styles can provide reinforcement for the learner. An example of this would be if students were ‘instructed’ how to perform a task, then ‘shown’ how to complete the same task and then to ‘perform’ the task themselves. This links in to (Honey & Mumford) learning styles theory, each style of learner; activist, reflector, theorist and pragmatist all have their own way of doing things however they are all able to benefit from the different teaching styles.
By using these different styles of teaching/learning the students are more likely to stay focussed as their interest will be high. I personally use VAK in two ways and vary the methods used depending on the lesson. For the practical part of the lesson the Auditory and Kinaesthetic elements are bought into demonstrations to create inclusivity, the students watch and listen and are able to question before going on to attempt the exercise for themselves. For any students that are predominantly Kinaesthetic I would either try to involve them while demonstrating or let them have a go at the exercise under constant supervision while giving constructive feedback. Kinaesthetic learning then becomes predominant as many tasks are repeated until a satisfactory level of competency is achieved. For the theory based part of the lesson I would change the method to Auditory and Visual for my own teaching, using slides, video and diagrams combined with lots of discussion, questions and answer opportunities to cover the subject matter.
Expanding to all three methods by using props such as imitation illegal drugs; this then helps kinaesthetic learners as well as reinforcing the visual element. Through observation of E2FEE students, I found that theme based activities such as ‘drug awareness’ keeps them interested and motivated throughout each lesson. If a method is explained, then demonstrated to the students and then let them try it out for themselves, they are more able to remember what has been taught. An example of this would be in a functional skills maths lesson, if the students are shown and talked through how to do the sum correctly at first then given the opportunity to have a go themselves they are able to follow instructions better rather than just having a go themselves.
This strategy is effective as it allows the students to take control of their own learning and also have an opportunity for them to evaluate their information gathered with their peers. It will also enable the tutor to assess whether learning has taken place and to identify where further work is required. Selecting the right resources to benefit all the learners is very important, as people learn in different ways all the VAK learning styles should be used. A teacher/tutor that is mainly using a PowerPoint presentation to deliver a lesson should also include the following; Audio – elaborating what is already shown in the information on the PowerPoint. Kinaesthetic – A group discussion, interactive work on the board or a group exercise to involve the students who benefit from ‘doing’ most.
http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/tp/effective-learning.htm (Accessed 11/12/2012)
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Topic: Strategies for Effective Learning
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