Kolb found that it is the combination of how we perceive and
how we process that forms the uniqueness of our own learning style,
our most comfortable way to learn. McCarthy
The concept of "learning styles", in the broadest sense, refers to how well a particular person learns under specific conditions. Time of day, noise levels, room temperatures, and structure all impact upon the effectiveness of learning (Dunn and Dunn). The preference for the mode of learning --auditory, visual, tactile-kinesthetic-- also differs with individuals (CITE). Mode may also differ for an individual depending upon the subject area, e.g., auditory in reading, visual in math. Styles for processing thinking, e.g., concrete, abstract, sequential, and random (Gregorc); feeling, thinking, intuition, and sensing (Hanson, Strong, and Silver); or dynamic, innovative, common sense, and analytic (McCarthy) also impact upon learning. Right brain/left brain research (McCarthy) should be considered.
Research substantiates that how a teacher learns, for the most part, is how he/she teaches (Hartsog). This bears directly upon school success. For instance, if the class is mostly visual and the teacher is auditory there will be an input mismatch. If the teacher
teaches predominately at the sensing/feeling levels and neglects the thinking area the classroom instruction will be direct recall and inference with the teacher being the giver of knowledge or the Asage on stage.@ However, if the teacher focuses on the thinking areas students will function better at higher order thinking levels and perform better on nationally normed tests. Ideally, the learning style of every student would be included regularly and support given on developing the weaker processing skills.
A newer focus that interfaces with style, stems from Gardener=s work in multiple intelligences (musical/rhythmic, body/kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, visual/spatial, naturalists and verbal/linguistic). Curriculum integration (Jacobs, Fogarty) that addresses using the seven basic multiple intelligences and style can be facilitated through cooperative learning structures to maximize learning for each student. This is especially crucial for the child having difficulty in school or is an at-risk student, and for initiatives such as block-scheduling and high schools that work. The major areas of Alearning styles@ are noted below.
Major Learning Styles
Common Sense (#3)
Intuitive/Trial and Error
DUNN and DUNN
Modality Areas Assessed by CITE *
auditory numerical auditory linguistics social group expressive: oral
visual numerical visual linguistics social individual expressive: written
*CITE is a public domain instrument. Mr. Frank B. Mann, III, Wyoming County Assistant Superintendent of Schools, has developed a computer program and a classroom analysis guide which is available free (disk/print cost only) when accompanied with training.
The following three programs were selected for further review because of their validity, availability, cost, and direct classroom application. Although Dunn and Dunn=s work is definitely school/life related, it lacks the teacher/student interface provided by McCarthy and Hanson, Strong and Silver. Gregorc is basically an adult instrument, however Butler provided an excellent guide for classroom application. Other programs that are content specific or rely on colors, shapes, and other such attributes do not have the general application of McCarthy and Hanson, Strong and Silver. McCarthy relates left/right brain integration with processing and perception and provides specific techniques for lesson planning. Hanson, Strong and Silver assess teachers, students, and management and offer strategies for implementing in a total program. Their work also provides a strong foundation for building school relationships, direct relevance to job skills, and school success. The CITE assesses different modalities than the other tests, is free, and has a classroom focus. It also provides teaching and learning guidelines.
McCarthy=s 4-MAT system advocates lessons being taught using all four processing areas and addresses both left and right brain in each quadrant. The following diagram shows how this is applied to a lesson.
The preferred approach in RESA-I is CITE and Hanson, Strong, and Silver. The learning profile score can be profiled with the teaching style profile to compare how the teacher learns vs. how he/she teaches. (Quite often they are the same in all four areas, but usually true in the dominant area.)
Teaching scores can be further plotted to facilitate setting goals. The interpretation sheet matching teaching preferences to classroom environment, activities, and other components of instruction. The following is a sample of a teacher=s preferred learning and teaching style plot and how it relates to the classroom implementation chart. Note that the teacher=s major strength is ST (Sensing Thinking) and the least preferred area is NF (Intuitive Feeling). SF (Sensing Feeling) is the second highest and NT (Intuitive Feeling) is next to last. Both of the highs include Sensing, thus a strong style.
A chart explaining the strengths is on the back of each test. A summary of some of the sensing thinking (ST) information follows the profile.
TEACHERS MAY BE CHARACTERIZED AS:
Trainers; Information givers; Instructional managers
LEARNERS MAY BE CHARACTERIZED AS:
CURRICULUM OBJECTIVES EMPHASIZE:
SETTING (Learning Environment) EMPHASIZE:
OPERATIONS (Thinking and Feeling Processes) INCLUDE
Observing; Describing; Memorizing; Translating; Categorizing
TEACHING STRATEGIES INCLUDE:
Command; Task; Graduated difficulty; Programmed instruction; New American Lecture
STUDENT ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
Work books; Drill & Repetition; Demonstrations; Competitions
EVALUATION PROCEDURES INCLUDE:
Objective tests; Checklists; Behavioral objectives; Use of mechanical devices; Demonstrations of specific skills; Criterion referenced tests; Normed tests; Teacher tests
A teaching profile can also be plotted that shows intra-individualized differences.The following are strategies directly relate to the four processing areas:
Sensing Feeling (SF): Reciprocal Learning -- Teacher
Helper Doer (Pairs Check)
Intuitive Feeling (NF): Metaphorical Expression
Intuitive Thinking (NT): Mystery Strategy (CLUES)
AEvent, Evidence, Explanation, and Evaluation@
(The Video Journal of Education; Vol. 5, #2.)
Sensing Thinking (ST): COPE: Collect Organize
*These strategies are taught on the video and are further explained in the handout. For example COPE uses organizers at Organize data and may use them at other steps, and the Mystery strategy has the option to use them in the last three E=s.
For schools that plan to relate style to the total school environment, the Management style test is available. When matched with the cumulative style data of teachers, it serves as a way to solve school related problems and set goals.
The final instrument is the CITE. It is the only instrument that measures how students learn math vs. how they learn reading; as noted earlier, expressive and grouping preferences are also assessed and noted. (Several commercial batteries incorporate the CITE.)
A master copy of the test and administration instructions follow this discussion. A free computer program is available when disk and mailing costs are provided. (Apple and IBM versions are available). A comprehensive multimedia training program, TASKS, is available for middle and high schools. It has applied lessons developed by Frank and Shelia Mann based upon years of research and experience. Hartsog and Mann have completed over 15 years of research using the CITE. Parent programs, developmental guidance, and classroom instruction as well as student profiles have been successfully used in many states and various programs such as Title I, Special Education, High Schools That Work, and preventative programs.
Learning style has again become a focus in education. Current trends B problem-based learning, the active learner approach, multiple intelligences, and cooperative learning B all recognize the uniqueness of both teacher and learner. The power and potential of honoring and using the diversity is just beginning to emerge.
The CITE inventory is available on disk, for both Apple and IBM formats.
CITE inventory available on disk.
TASK Program For Implementing Style incorporates the CITE and includes lessons.
Hanson, Strong, and Silver:
Questioning Styles and Strategies Teaching Styles and Strategies
The TLC Learning Preference Inventory
McCarthy: The 4MAT System: Teaching to Learning Styles with Right/Left Mode Techniques.
The Video Journal of Education: Learning Differences, Vol 4, #1.
The Video Journal of Education: Instructional Strategies for Greater Student Achievement, Vol 5, #2.
The Workshop Wizard Notebook has a listing of web sites and articles regarding using technology in the classroom.
Evaluation of the teaching style in the classroom uses lesson plans or observation. For students, the assessment instruments evaluate styles. A student checklist or metacognitive activity will encourage student use of various styles and processing skills. The ultimate evaluation of using style includes students being more mature, learning more and better, and grades improving.
Brain dominance often is considered in relation to style. The following is a brief listing of learning attributes of each hemisphere. Those who have whole or integrated thinking respond equally at both.
Doesn=t Interpret Body Language
Structured by Environment
1 Variable Research
Rarely Uses Metaphors and Analogies
Interprets Body Language
Frequently Uses Metaphors and Analogies
Movement and Action
LEARNING STYLE vs MULTIPLE INTELLIGNECES
Learning Style is:
$ exhibiting a tendency toward
$ learning in a specific direction
$ something someone uses to solve problems
$ a capacity in an area of knowledge
$ an ability in an area of knowledge
$ the ability to find and solve problems and create products of value in one=s culture (Gardner)
ADMINISTERING THE CITE
1 is low, or not like you; 4 is most like you; 2 is a little like you; 3 is somewhat like you.
1. When I make things for my studies, I remember what I
have learned better.
2. Written assignments are easy for me.
Instruct students to read each of the 45 questions and circle one number: 1, 2, 3, or 4, after each question.
After all the questions are answered numbers need to be transferred to the score sheet (older students can do this). The rating (1-4) given to each question is placed by that number on the score sheet, totaled, then multiplied by the number indicated (see page 11).
VISUAL LANGUAGE VISUAL NUMERICAL
5 --- __________ 9 --- __________
13 --- __________ 17 --- __________
21 --- __________ 25 --- __________
29 --- __________ 33 --- __________
37 --- __________ 41 --- __________
Total _____ x 2 = _____ (Score) Total _____ x 2 = _____ (Score)
Plot the scores on the individual score sheet by coloring in the bars to equal each total. Note major and minor scores and those of negligible use (see page 12).
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38
The following sample from the interpretation sheet offers an explanation regarding learning and how to teach (see pages 13-15).
This is the student who learns well from seeing words in boxes, on the chalkboard, charts or workbooks. He may write words down that are given to him orally in order to learn by seeing them on paper. He remembers and uses information better if he has read it.
This student will benefit from a variety of books, pamphlets and written materials on several levels of difficulty. Given some time alone with a book, he may learn more than in class. Make sure important information has been given to him on paper or that he takes notes if you want him to remember specific information.
Lastly, a teacher=s classroom chart is provided to assist in planning for every student (see page 16).
C.I.T.E. CLASS ANALYSIS
By Frank B. Mann, III
Note: If read horizontally, every student is viewed individually. If read vertically, the class profile in that area is shown. (Bold major; small negligible use)
Tip: It is helpful to list the teacher=s score last, knowing teachers usually teach the way they learn. Students needing alternative methods will be more readily seen. If the scores indicating strengths are highlighted in green and the scores indicating negligible use are highlighted in pink, the patterns will be more readily seen.