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Everybody has their own style. Whether it is in the way they dress, the way they write or even the way they talk, everybody has their own unique flair. But when you think about everybody’s different style, you never think about the way they learn, or their learning style. However, learning styles is something that would be beneficial for everyone to learn and pay attention to in all areas of life. No matter what you may be whether it is a boss, a teacher, a student or just someone’s friend, it is of use to know how to identify and adjust to everyone’s different learning styles to be able to present new information in the manner that is the best for them.
There has been a system developed to help inform others about learning styles. VARK is the name of the system, which is an acronym for the four categories that they have used to break down their system, Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic.
Visual learners learn best by what they see. Most people can learn by visual means. Visual learners can make “movies in their minds” of information they are reading. Their movies are often vivid and detailed. Visual-spatial skills such as sizes, shapes, textures, angles, and three-dimensional depths are strong.
They often pay close attention to the body language of others (facial expressions, eyes, stance, etc.) Visuals have a keen awareness of the aesthetics, the beauty of the physical environment, visual media, or art. If you like to look at pictures, diagrams, graphs, films, timelines, or demonstrations to help you learn new information, or maybe to recall old information, then you are probably a visual.
Most visuals also tend to enjoy lecturers who use gestures and a picturesque language. To help you study, it is good to review over charts or diagrams, go through and highlight your notes, and by even possibly taking your notes an turning then into pictures or rewording them in different arrangements to help get the full meaning of a topic. When you are presented with a test you can help yourself by drawing things or making use of diagrams, recall the pictures made by your notes and turn all of your visuals back into words. “… You are often swayed by the look of an object. You are interested in color and layout and design and you know where you are in your environment. You are probably going to draw something” Being an Aural or verbal person means that you take more value into words, written or spoken. Auditory learners can remember quite accurately details of information they hear during conversations or lectures. They have strong language skills, which include a well-developed vocabulary and an appreciation for words.
The strong language skills often lead to strong oral communication skills. They can carry on interesting conversations and can articulate their ideas clearly. Because of a “fine tuned ear,” aural people may find learning a foreign language to be relatively easy. Auditory learners often have musical talents. They can hear tones, rhythms, and individual notes with their strong auditory skills. Generally, most teachers in the upper grades will spend 80 percent of their time lecturing, which appeals to auditory learners. For you to help take in information you must do the following: attend classes, attend discussions, discuss the topics over with others, explain new information to others, use a <a href=”http://www.serverlogic3.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=11&k=tape%20recorder” onmouseover=”window.status=’tape recorder’; return true;” onmouseout=”window.status=”; return true;”>tape recorder</a>, and leave spaces in your notes for later recall and ‘filling’. It may also help to remember interesting stories, examples, or jokes and to describe overheads or other visuals to somebody who was not there. When studying, your notes may be poor because you prefer to listen so you will need to go back and ask others and write down what they say and look through the textbook. Find somebody, another aural, to listen to you either reading your notes or just giving your understanding of the topic. During the test or assignment imagine yourself talking to the examiner, listen to your voices and write them down, and maybe speak you answers aloud. “You prefer to have all of this said to you. The written words are not as valuable as those you hear.
You will probably go and tell somebody about this” The Read/Write style(R/W) is the third strategy in this system. The R/W learners prefer to take in the information through lists. They like (in list format of course) – dictionaries, glossaries, definitions, headings, handouts, textbooks, readings (library), notes (often verbatim), teachers who use words well and have lots of information in sentences and notes, essays, and manuals (computing and laboratory). Repetition is very important for a substantial study method. Write out words again and again, read notes over and over, and you can try to rewrite ideas and principles into other words. Organize any diagrams and graphs into statements, e.g. “The trend is…” Imagine your lists arranged in multiple choice questions and distinguish each from each. To assure good performance- write your lists (a, b,c,d,1,2,3,4), arrange your words into hierarchies and points and practice with multiple choice questions. “You believe the meanings are within the words, so any talk is OK but a handout is better. You are heading for the library.” “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Kinesthetic learners, also known as active, or tactile learners, have an inclination towards movement. They often wiggle, tap their feet, or move their legs when they sit. Kinesthetic learners were probably often labeled “hyperactive” as children. Because they can learn through movement, they often do well as performers: athletes, actors, or dancers. If you work well with your hands, then you may be good at repair work, sculpting, art, or working with various tools. Organization is often difficult for active learners.
Kinesthetic learners are often well coordinated and have a strong sense of timing and body movement. As being an active learner you use all of your senses. You benefit from labs, field trips, tours, examples of principles, and you work by trial and error. They are very practical and only like learning real facts so they tend to enjoy lectures with real-life examples and do not like courses that do not directly connect to the real world. “You want to experience the exam so you that you can understand it. The ideas on this page are only valuable if they sound practical, real, and relevant to you. You need to do things to understand.” Adding to the statement that “everybody has their own unique flair”, is that everybody is unique mostly because everyone has a different mix of the four strategies. In all actuality there are really five strategies, one of being a combination of the others. Having multiple preferences, or being multimodal, is very common. If you are multimodal then you are in the vast majority of fifty to seventy percent. The benefit of having a multiple preference is that it gives you choices of two or three or four modes to use during interaction with others. If someone has a strong preference to one mode, then you can decide whether you want to compliment or oppose it. For example, you may have asked for written evidence in an argument knowing that the other person would much rather prefer to give oral information if you are trying to oppose them. Multiple preferences can be quite varied. You can have two strong modes VA or RK, or you may have three strong preferences such as VAR or ARK. There also some who are completely equal with all four.
They have said to adapt to the mode that was being used or requested by their teacher or supervisor. It has been shown, most of the time, that people feel it is necessary for them to use more than one mode for adequate learning and communicating. People with one preference tend to be more decisive compared to those with several. With all the different types of learning styles it can be sometimes difficult for teachers to get through to all their students. They have to be enabled to reach all of their students at the same time. Just as many students have a preferred learning style, many teachers have a preferred teaching style. If a teacher uses their one preferred teaching style and does not adjust to the learning styles of some of the students, the students suffer. A teacher needs to be aware of his or her preferred teaching style and the preferred learning styles of each of his or her students. Only then can a teacher design learning experiences that accommodate the needs of all students. So to be an effective teacher it is good to review the previous lesson (a little bit each time repeatedly), and over time the information becomes automatic and can be called up from memory with little effort. The review should be brief, fast and engaging and be used for a way to start the new lesson for that day. If there is a student(s) that is maybe suffering in class then that should be a tell-tale sign that maybe it is not for lack of effort that the student(s) is suffering but that it maybe due to way the information is being presented. This opens a door for teachers to maybe review the lesson again but in a new manner to be able to achieve complete understanding among all of the students. So it is very beneficial for teachers to know the characteristics of each learning style for sufficient identification and adjustment. Everybody has been on both sides of the fence at one time or another-teaching or learning. In both instances it is imperative to know how to alter your style to the one that is needed to assure a smooth process. There are many styles of learning, or intelligences, that have been found. Having to adapt to each individual one can be very trying but, I believe, would be of great help to everyone no matter what side of the fence you are on.
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