This guest contribution is from Henry S. Tenedero, President, Center for Learning and Teaching Styles, Philippines and MINDful Ideas.
I learned a lot about Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles Model from his books 🙂 Email him to get hold of his books.
You can visit http://www.learningstyles.net/ to learn more about the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles Model.
You can also check out this pdf resource on this model: http://americantesol.com/DunnLearningStyles.pdf
Knowledge of this model can enhance our teaching because students learn more if we cater to their learning styles.
Six Ways To Bring Out Your Best – A Learning Styles Approach
Henry S. Tenedero
When you are working on your monthly budget and struggling with your obligations to pay bills, do you:
Consult the papers and files you have been accumulating since last year — or search for missing items to meet the end-of-month deadline?
Work at the kitchen table with all the lights on—or sit comfortably in an easy chair next to a lamp with soft illumination?
Wait until the rest of the family has gone to bed or has gone elsewhere so that you could have quiet—or do you turn on your favorite music or sports event because you need background sound to help you think?
Work alone because you trust your own judgment—or consult with your tax accountant because you feel comfortable when you rely on an authority?
Wake up early to get a fresh start or postpone the task until late evening when you really “think” best?
These dichotomies point to some of the different elements of learning styles that affect most things that we do.
What Is Learning Style?
Learning style is the way people begin to concentrate on, process, internalize, and remember new and difficult academic information. It is comprised of both biological and developmental traits that make the same environments and resources effective for some people and ineffective for others.
Like fingerprints, no two individuals are exactly the same or possess the same learning style. People prefer to use different sensory modalities when they process information and demonstrate a distinct ability for remembering complex information better or less well by hearing, seeing, or experiencing or mastering it through hands-on learning.
Over the past three decades, the late Dr. Rita Dunn, Professor of Education and Director of the Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles at St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York and her colleagues, have produced a massive body of academic research on the relevance of learning styles to education. Now we are examining the relevance of learning style to (a) children in international settings, (b) adults, and (c) workers to help them learn and function better.
Interestingly, the learning styles of spouses tend to be diametrically opposite from each other. First-born children tend to reflect the style of one of their parents. The second sibling displays a learning style that is different from their brother or sister and reflects, instead, the style of the other parent. The third child in the family invariably possesses a learning style that is different from either one of his/her older siblings.
Researchers have developed reliable assessment tools to identify and characterize “learning style.” Moreover, the educational literature is burgeoning with a growing body of research documenting the extraordinary effectiveness of this approach in helping engineers, teachers, medical and law students, and nurses improve their success with complex cognitive tasks, thus providing evidence that understanding one’s own learning-style is critical to personal growth and achievement.
Six Ways To Capitalize on Your Own Learning Style
1) Recognize that each person is uniquely different, has different strengths, and learns different. Research suggests that you are most effective when you use your strengths. However, without taking stock of our own learning style, many of us try to produce through our weaknesses. This leads to less productivity at work and wasted time at home.
2) Identify your own learning style. While some differences among people are readily apparent, others are not. Therefore, it is important to use a reliable and valid standardized instrument.
3) Once you know your style, use it to teach yourself anything that seems difficult or challenging. This may be any complex task that requires concentration like outwitting the government or writing notes to your child’s teacher. When there is greater harmony between how you learn and how you work, things will seem easier and move more rapidly.
4) Determine whether you are a step-by-step analytic processor or global learner who needs to see the big picture before you can concentrate on details. Each of these learners is equally intelligent, but functions differently. Global learners often hum, speak, or sing to themselves to provide the sound they crave while thinking. They tend to become hyperactive or tense in brightly-lit rooms. They can’t sit at desks or tables for more than 15 or 20 minutes without sprawling, squirming or moving. They snack, whisper, crouch, and lose interest in whatever they are exposed to when taught analytically. Conversely, analytics think best in a formal, quiet, brightly lit area with minimum food or snacks.
5) Arrange or re-arrange your environment to take advantage of your own learning style strengths. For example, if you like to hum while working, find a quiet place where you won’t be bothering anyone else. If you need space, don’t work at the desk where you keep your computer. If you need to take breaks, structure your time to allow them but make sure you return to the task after a set interval.
6) Forget about the age-old wisdom, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” What you don’t know about your own learning-style strengths can hurt you. Although people can be productive in the wrong style (for them), they are significantly more so when they work with their learning style.
President, Center for Learning and Teaching Styles, Philippinesand MINDful Ideas
Executive Board Director, International Learning Styles Network, US and Scandinavia
Founder, Communities Honoring Individual Learning Diversity (CHILD)