Testing a student’s tendencies

When I have students I haven’t been able to watch yet, I try to give them a small test to get an idea about their tendencies, always knowing that it’s not more than an initial idea that has to be compared to the daily observation of the students in the classroom.

Knowing my students’ tendencies and preferences helps me work with them in an individual manner, but most of my time as a teacher, I work with the whole group at the same time, and so I use all of the representational systems. Accordingly, and from the learning styles’ point of view, the most important thing I can do as a teacher is to learn to present the same information using all of the representational systems, so that the information is equally accessible to all of my students, whether they are visual, auditory or kinesthetic.

When I explain, for example, the use of the present continuous tense to my students, I can do it in many ways. If I’m aware of the representational system I’m using, I can plan my class out so that I use all of the systems, and not just one of them, especially when I’m dealing with especially difficult subjects.

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LEARNING STYLES AND STRATEGIES

Our learning style is directly related to the strategies we use to learn something. A way to understand it would be to think about our learning style as the statistical mean of all the different strategies we use. Therefore, our learning style corresponds to our long-term tendencies and our most-used strategies. But naturally, the existence of a statistical mean doesn’t preclude deviations, or, said in other words, just because someone is generally really visual, holistic and reflexive, it doesn’t mean he can’t use auditory strategies in many cases and in concrete tasks.