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I have followed this thread with interest. I am not at all convinced
that everything we do must be justified by empirical evidence by
scientists who may never have had the privilege of teaching.
When I explain an accounting concept in words and see some eyes fully
engaged with understanding, and others staring blankly, I could make the
assumption that the latter group is simply choosing not to learn and
focus my attention on the engaged group that responds to verbal
instruction. More times than I can count, the students with the blank
stares come to life when the concept is presented in a different way,
either visually or kinesthetically. This is my own empirical evidence
for addressing different learning styles in everything I do with
students.
In our Learner Support Centre at Durham College we will continue to
offer learning styles inventories and cues to help students to use
strategies when their particular learning style does not match the
teaching style of their instructors.

Wendy Trotter
Learner Support Centre
Durham College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Oshawa, Ontario
www.dc-uoit.ca/learnersupportcentre



-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: September 30, 2005 7:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: More on learning styles

Cynthia,

You raise some very good points.  Having students complete surveys on
their learning styles or modalities that, to my knowledge, are not
supported by empirical research does not seem to be educationally sound.

Although learning styles and modalities (often used interchangeably) are

fascinating, there seems to be little basis for them.  I wonder why we
continue to cling onto the notion that we need to teach about something
that has absolutely no scientific basis?

 JS
  * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jon Steingass
Associate Dean
College of Humanities & Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University
(804) 828-1673 (office)
(804) 828-6048 (fax)



Cynthia Peterson <[log in to unmask]>
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09/29/2005 06:10 PM
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Re: More on learning styles






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/cogs
ci.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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