Learning Styles

Running head: LEARNING STYLES OF OUR LIVES Learning Styles of Our Lives Parker, Bobby American Military University Learning Styles of Our Lives We are faced with many different learning experiences. Some of these experiences have made a better impact than others. We can attribute this to our learning style. A person’s learning style is the method through which they gain information about their environment. Research is going on all over the world to help explain learning styles.

To me, it is our responsibility to learn about these different learning styles so we can appeal to every type of learner in our world. Howard Gardner has elaborated on the concept of learning style through what he calls “multiple intelligence’s” (Gardner 3). Understanding this intelligence’s will help us to design our learning environment and curriculum in a way that will appeal to all people. We may even be able to curb negative behavior by reaching people in a different way. Learning styles can also help us to determine possible career paths so we can help to steer children in the right direction.

Discovering our own learning styles can potentially maximize our own information processing and teaching techniques. Howard Gardner is a professor at Harvard who has studied the idea of intelligence in a way that links research and personal experience (Traub 1). He began speaking about “multiple intelligence’s” in 1983. Since then, he has won a Macarthur “genius” grant, he has written books, which have been translated into twenty languages, and he gives about seventy-five speeches a year (Truab 1).

His ideas have been backed and popularized by many groups seeking to reform the current educational system. The idea is we know a child who scores well on tests is smart, but that doesn’t mean a child who does not score well is not getting the information or is incapable of getting it (Traub1). Gardner’s goal is to turn what we normally think of as intelligence into a mere aspect of a much wider range of aptitudes (Traub 1). Most of us believe doing well in school requires a certain amount of intelligence. Schoolwork usually focuses on only two avenues of intelligence.

Traditional teaching focuses on verbal and mathematical skills. A person who is weak in both of these will probably do poorly in school. Gardner suggests that there is eight different aptitudes or “intelligence’s” (Gardner 3). Each individual has the “eight intelligence’s” in various amounts. Our strengths and weaknesses in the “intelligence’s” influence how we learn (Gardner 5). They may even affect how successful we are in life. “Verbal- linguistic” is the first of Gardner’s proposed “intelligence’s” (Gardner). A linguistic learner thinks in words.

This person uses language to express and understand meaning (Gardner 24) Linguistic learners are sensitive to the meaning of words, their order, and their inflection (Gardner 24) This type of person uses writing to express themselves, often through poetry, stories, and letters. “Verbal linguistic” (Gardner 24) learners are usually very skilled readers. Speaking is another strength they possess. Oral communication is used often for persuasion and memorization (Gardner 133). They are often eloquent speakers and have wonderfully developed auditory skills. This type of intelligence tends to pick up foreign languages with ease.

Identifying a “verbal linguistic” (Gardner 24) learner in your classroom is not difficult. Because of their talents at expressing themselves their class work will stand out. They tend to do well at expressing themselves through writing. The will often speak their mind and can easily explain an event that happened through words, both speaking and writing. Planning lessons that appeal to the “verbal linguistic” (Gardner 24) learner is very easy. The traditional curriculum appeals best to this kind of learner. They are very good at reading and writing which is already the main method of teaching in most classrooms.

Some activities that appeal to this kind of learner are storytelling, writing essays, joking, debating, story problems, and crossword searches. These activities will allow the student to use words to learn material and express what they have learned through words. The “visual spatial intelligence” has the ability to think in pictures (Gardner 65). They perceive the visual world accurately and are able to think in three-dimensional terms. According to Gardner, visual learners can easily recreate something that they have seen (Gardner 67). Art is usually a strong area for a student who learns this way.

Constructing things is another activity that comes easily to this type of learner. They have a knack for turning ideas into concrete examples (Gardner 67). An example of this type of student is some one who can bring an architectural design from their minds to paper and then into a model. A person strong in this type of “intelligence” (Gardner 133) has a keen awareness between space and objects. The student who learns best visually will most often sit near the front of the class. They need to see the teacher’s body language and facial expressions to fully understand the content of a lesson.

This type of learner learns best from visual display. Diagrams, illustrated textbooks, videos, flipcharts, and handouts are crucial to the learning of this type of “intelligence” (Gardner 24). Activities that this type of learner will excel at include: creating collages and posters, storyboarding, painting, and photographing. People who are strong in the “visual spatial”(Gardner 17) type of intelligence are indispensable when it comes to professions. We rely on them to be aware of the big picture with the knowledge that each element relies on another.

They seem to have an instinctual awareness of what is going on around them and are wonderful navigators, mechanics, engineers, architects, interior designers, and inventors. “Body kinesthetic” (Gardner 88) learners have the ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully (Gardner 88). These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and hand eye coordination. Interacting with the space around them is the way that the “body kinesthetic”(Gardner 144) learner processes information. This learning style involves a sense of timing and coordination.

Michael Jordan, for example would most likely have a well developed “body kinesthetic intelligence” (Gardner 144). His ability to move quickly across a basketball court, while dribbling a ball, with a roaring crowd, while processing the whereabouts of five opponents and four teammates shows that there is a specific intelligence in his movement and perception of the basketball court’s layout (Santrock 292). The “body kinesthetic” (Gardner 2) learner can often be a handful in the classroom. As a student it may be difficult for this person to sit still.

This learner will do best if they are able to work while moving around or standing. This type of learner will do well with activities that involve acting out skits, directing movement, and playing charades. They will often excel in physical education and delight at becoming involved with sports. “Logical mathematical intelligence”(Gardner 6) is another intelligence that is already heavily implemented in our current school system. It involves the ability to use numbers, logic, and reason. These learners think conceptually, in logic and number patterns (Gardner 112).

They are often able to perform complex mathematical problems. This type of intelligence involves deductive and inductive reasoning skills, as well as critical and creative problem solving (Gardner 122). Children who use logic and mathematics as a primary way of learning tend to be obvious in the classroom. This child will ask a lot of questions and enjoys doing experiments. They will often excel in mathematics and science. Finding ways to help this person succeed in language arts and social studies can often be a challenge. This person will do well if we help them to focus on categorizing information.

Grouping concepts together and then finding a relationship between them will help this type of intelligence to understand concepts not related to math or science. Helping a child master these techniques will no doubt help them tackle issues in their everyday life. “Musical Rhythmic” (Gardner 121) learners have the ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in rhythms, sounds, and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds such as; crickets, dripping, bells, and trains (Santrock 345).

They are also very sensitive to patterns and pitch in sound. “Musical rhythmic” (Garnder 121) learners are able to recognize, create, and recreate sound using their voice or instruments (Gardner 125). An understanding of the connection between music and emotions is prevalent in these types of learners (Gardner 125). Identifying a person who is a musical learner can be tricky. They often play an instrument and are involved in some kind of extracurricular activity involving music. This type of learner will recreate a sound by tapping on their desk or humming the tune.

Accommodating this type of leaner in the classroom can be challenging for teachers. This person will benefit from being able to bring music in to their lessons. Their homework may include writing songs about periods of history and literary events. Musical learners may need to create songs in order to memorize operations and sequences. They should be encouraged to make up songs to help them memorize things like planets and mathematical formulas. Gardner is especially interested in the “musical intelligence” (Santrock 354). Gardner himself had been a serious pianist and a composition student (Traub 2).

His interests in the “musical intelligence” (Gardner 121) particularly focused on childhood (Santrock 354). Preschool children have the ability to learn musical patterns easily, and they rarely forget them. (Gardner 77). He points out that many adults can still remember tunes from when they were very young. (Gardner 78). There are many different avenues available to help people discover their own learning style and assess their intelligence. Mainly there are questionnaires to help assess the way that people process information. Looking through a few of the assessment, which can be found easily online, I found that they are pretty standard.

They call for you to check statements that you find are true about yourself. These statements are then put into their appropriate “intelligence” (Traub 3) category. The category with the truest statements is ranked as your strongest intelligence. Each of the other intelligence’s are put in order accordingly. Knowing about learning styles and multiple intelligence is helpful for everyone, especially for people with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Knowing your own learning style and the learning styles of other people will help you to develop coping strategies, compensate for weaknesses, and capitalize strengths.

It is everybody’s duty to make the learning process a pleasurable one for all people; becoming familiar with the different learning styles will help us to do just that. References ABC News Productions. (1999). Biography. Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books. (Gardner, 1983) (Santrock, 1998(ABC News Productions, 1999) (text, <c1992- >)) Santrock, J. W. (1998). Child development (8th ed. ). Boston, Mass. : Hill. text, J. T. (<c1992- >). Subjective reasoning. Stamford, Conn. : Champion International Corp.