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I enjoyed the learning styles discussion!  Over the years, I’ve come to think
about learning styles in two
ways.

First, modifying instruction to accommodate a student’s modality strength
seems not to be effective.
See Daniel T. Willingham in his Ask the Cognitive Scientist Column in American
Educator, Summer 05:
http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/summer2005/cogsci.htm
where he describes “some of the research on matching modality strength to the
modality of
instruction,” and “why the idea of tailoring instruction to a student’s best
modality is so enduring—
despite substantial evidence that it is wrong.

Second, teaching students about learning styles might be at the expense of
teaching something else
more valid.  Students (and tutors) do need to better understand themselves as
learners and to
understand individual differences in others. But is teaching them about their
learning style the best
approach? In the latest Buros’ Mental Measurements Yearbook (a psychometric
standard), none of the
learning styles instruments that I checked received favorable reviews.

Cynthia Peterson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Reading Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Texas State University-San Marcos
San Marcos, Texas 78666

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