Diversifying Teaching Styles to Meet the Needs of All Learners
When researching about education, one often finds a great deal of literature and information about learning styles. Educators spend countless hours studying their students in order to find out how they learn best. All students have needs when it comes to how they learn and educators must be able to meet those needs in order to promote successful learning in their classrooms. This (paper/article) will focus on teaching strategies and how to vary them so that each learning style preference is addressed, therefore increasing the level of achievement of each student and making learning a successful outcome in the classroom.
Strategies, or methods of instruction, include the ways in which the content/information is transformed into new learning for the students. The content can be transformed directly from the teacher to the student through lecture, demonstration, drill and questioning, or more indirectly where the teacher's role is to facilitate learning situations through grouping, discovery, inquiry, role-play and simulations (Freiberg, Driscoll, 1996). Wilen, Ishler, Hutchison, and Kindsvatter (2000) stress that building a positive, supportive learning environment is an important goal for all teachers who want their students to succeed in learning. To maintain student interest and achieve higher results, they encourage teachers to use a variety of methods. They suggest four strategies for "generating an academic climate" in the classroom (p. 30): 1) be task oriented and aware of time. Teachers often find themselves in a situation, which limits the amount of time they can spend on a certain topic. Therefore, it is recommended that teachers try to remain focused on the topic as much as possible. 2) Keep students on task and involved with challenging activities, 3) give limited and purposeful homework, and 4) monitor progress for student success. These suggestions will increase the amount of learning for students in your classroom.
There have been several publications written on the topic of teaching styles and sifting through all the information can be tedious. The first, and most obvious, place to start would be to discuss a little about how learning occurs. The brain is a complex organ that scientists are still studying. Much has been learned about the brain, but much more needs to be researched. One thing that has been studied a great deal is memory and how it works. All human beings use their memory to learn. Information that has been learned was processed in the short-term memory and stored in the long-term memory. We retrieve the information through recall, recognition, and encoding specificity. Recall is a simple retrieval of information. Recognition involves a set of "pre-generated stimuli presented to learners for a decision or judgment" (Driscoll, 2000). For example, when one hears the words "Oh say can you see..." one automatically...