CHARACTERISTICS OF REPRESENTATIONAL SYSTEMS

Visual representational system:

When we think about images (for example, when we “see” a page from a book in our mind, along with the information we need), we can put in our mind a lot of information at the same time, and that’s why the people who use the visual representational system more find it easier to absorb large amounts of information in very little time.

Visualizing also helps us establish relationships between different ideas and concepts. When a student is having trouble relating concepts, it’s often because he’s processing the information in an auditory manner.

The ability to abstract is directly related to the ability to visualize and the ability to plan.

These two characteristics explain why most college students (and as a result the teachers as well) are visual.

Visual students learn better when they read or when they see the information in any way. In a conference, for example, they prefer to read the photocopies or the slides rather than listen to the oral explanation, or in their absence, they take notes so they can have something to read.

 

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LEARNING STYLES AND THE THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

One of the most passionate and well-founded theories in the last few years is Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. Gardner defines intelligence as the set of abilities that lets us solve problems or create valuable products in our culture. Gardner defines 8 big types of abilities or intelligence, according to the production context (verbal-linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical-rhythmic and harmonic intelligence, visual-spatial intelligence, naturalistic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence).

We all develop the eight intelligence, but we develop each one of them to a different degree. Even though it parts from the common grounds that we don’t all learn the same way, Gardner rejects the concept of learning styles, and says that the individual’s way of learning can vary from one intelligence to the next, in such a way that an individual can have, for example, a holistic perception in the logical-mathematical intelligence, and a sequential perception when he works on his musical-rhythmic and harmonic intelligence.

Gardner understands (and rejects) the notion of learning styles as something fixed and unchangeable for each individual. But, if we understand the learning style as the global tendencies of an individual when it comes to learning, and if we start from the thought that these global tendencies are not fixed and unchangeable, but they’re in continuous evolution, we can see there’s no real contrast between the multiple intelligence theory and the learning styles theories.

As a professor, both theory styles are useful to me. The multiple intelligence theory is focused on the individual’s production in some areas and not in other areas. It’s my personal opinion that people with the same learning style can use it to develop different production areas and vice versa, so individuals with different learning styles can have the same success in the same areas. A certain way of learning can be used to “create” different tools. The values, opinions and attitudes of the individual, and his likes and his environment can take him from one field to the next.