Thursday, January 24, 2013

Making meaning - learning styles don't exist

I've just been introduced to the work of Daniel Willingham, by my friend Keith Tellum, who suggests that there is no such thing as learning styles. I've seen this debate around but I've never spent time looking into it until now - this Youtube video by Daniel sums up his reasons why we have been so convinced about the learning styles theory.

So, he ends by saying that good teaching is just good teaching, and that a lot of the time, we are learning 'meaning' and that is not necessarily based around a particular modality like hearing, seeing or doing. (So I guess he's talking about constructivism.)
So what's my takeaway from this?
- go and try to find more examples of 'good teaching' and more research into why 'good teaching' is 'good teaching'.
What are the factors that make it so?
1. For me, part of 'good teaching' is related to the teacher's personality: A teacher who is good with analogies and story-telling (helping people to make meaning) will have an advantage over someone who just relays facts.
2. Teachers who are good learners make better teachers.
But there must be something I can do, as a teacher-trainer, to help teachers to become better teachers (using technology or not). I must admit there are certain personality types that are just HARD WORK, but the majority of teachers and support staff I have come across have just enough curiosity, wonder and interest to learn new things. Phew! So I need to come up with more techniques to unleash the great teacher in these people. Time to go research. If you know of any "practical theories" (oxymoron intended) I should be exploring, please let me know in the comments.
I am a little way through Daniel Kahneman's book: Thinking, Fast and Slow, and I'm hoping that I will find some answers in there eventually.

1 comment:

lilian said...
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