Monday, August 16, 2010

Do Learning Styles Really Exist?

I just wanted to share a video I found from Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia (Dr. Willingham is a cognitive psychologist interested in the application of what's known about the mind to K-12 teaching).

In this video, Dr. Willingham discusses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles and believes that most learning involves a blended approach. He states that:
Most of what teachers want students to learn is not visual, or auditory or kinesthetic's meaning based...Most of what you learn at school is meaning based.

It's true that some people have a better visual memory than other people and other people are better at learning auditory material than other people are, but that fact isn't really all that important for teachers because most of what teachers want students to learn is not particulary viual or auditory or kinesthetic. Most of what teachers want students to learn is based on meaning. The second point concerns the particular prediction of the theory. The important prediction of the theory is not that some people have better visual memory than other people. The prediction is that those people with a good visual memory will always learn better if you present things visually. But, that idea is clearly wrong when you've got something that you want students to learn that's especially visual like the shape of a country on a map. Everybody needs to see a visual presentation, not just those people that have really good visual memory.

Good teaching is good teaching and teachers don't need to adjust their teaching to individual student's learning styles.

You can also watch the video HERE.

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