• Learning Techniques

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    A “learning style” is the method of learning, particular to an individual that is presumed to allow that individual to learn at their best or the easiest for them.

    With regards to “learning techniques”, these two are similar but separate issues that on the surface would appear to be the same but are not.

    It has been proposed that teachers should evaluate the learning styles of their students and do their best to adapt the classroom and teaching methods to fit each student's learning style. In my view, this proposal is totally improper for the classroom. The learning styles of the students should be evaluated at the entry process or with older students, within a counseling/ evaluation session. My thoughts on this are based on the fact that the students will have to be able to progress within and through the system. All students should be taught basic learning techniques and be able to develop these “techniques” in order to assimilate any new information to help with that progression.

    There will be no time, in the classroom for an instructor/ teacher to evaluate each student if that class is of the normally accepted class size. However after there has been a few days or weeks of interaction with the students, a teacher will know, should know the student’s strong points and weak points. Not only so, there will be several learning styles within a class and the teacher can not cater to them all. Instead, the teacher has the obligation to introduce the students to certain learning techniques that will help them learn and retain the material presented, despite their individual learning styles!

    There are several ideas or models regarding learning styles. Usually, these will fall into one of four basic learning styles.

    • Visual learning (show me)
    • Vocal or listening learning (tell me)
    • Reading and writing (on the page)
    • Practical (hands on)

    This is in contrast with learning techniques!

    Effective learning techniques, requires making the things learned memorable. Anything that will make what you are learning stand out and be memorable, helps to make you retain the information presented.

    Therefore, following is a list of 10 real life techniques that can and will help students, when used. Note that not all these techniques will be used at the same time!

    List of ten

    • Make a general outline of what you're learning.
    • Break the material into small chunks.
    • Utilize the strengths of your individual learning “style”.
    • Highlight new information, emphasizing important points.)
    • Summarize the material out loud.
    • Use the buddy system.
    • Memorize
    • Generate visual images in your mind and write down your impressions
    • Take notes and refer to them during study times
    • Review your notes.

    Although this list is not exhaustive, utilizing these techniques will help the student retain what is presented in the classroom, as well as retain what they are to study on their own.

    The learning techniques are very real and necessary for the classroom teacher to be aware of. Whether or not the teacher in the classroom is a Psychology major, they will not necessarily know or have an appreciation of the different learning styles. However, within the aspects of their teaching experience, the classroom teacher should have been introduced to different learning techniques and be able to introduce a few of them to the students.

    Application of these learning techniques is a necessary part of becoming successful in academics! Be sure to introduce your students to good basic and sound learning techniques so that they will become successful, not only in your classroom but in their future endeavors as well.

    References

    • Wikipedia
    • Curry, L. (1990). One critique of the research on learning styles.Educational
      Leadership 48, 50-56
    • Stahl, S. A. (2002). Different strokes for different folks? In L. Abbeduto (Ed.),
      Taking sides: Clashing on controversial issues in educational psychology (pp. 98-107). Guilford, CT, USA: McGraw-Hill.
    • Dunn, R., Dunn, K., and Price, G. E. (1984) Learning style inventory. Lawrence 
      KS, USA: Price Systems

    Robert Welch


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