Learning Styles

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Learning Styles
Your preferred learning style:
1). What techniques can you use, based on your learning style and strengths, that
will enhance your understanding of material while studying? What techniques
are you already using?
2). Everyone has either a FAVORITE or WORST teacher experience- briefly
describe the style techniques that caused your teacher to be either your worst or
your favorite. How did they teach? What did they do that did or didn’t match
your learning style?
3). Some of us would rather sit through a lecture than read a text book- or work
through a lab rather than write an essay. Identify a style of instruction (lecture,
text reading, group work, labs) that doesn’t match with your preferred learning
style and list 3 ways that you can approach the format of material that will cater
to your learning strengths. (Please use the back side of this paper for additional
Learning Styles and Mathematics
Are you primarily an auditory learner? Do you prefer to have someone explain math to you
rather than read about it or see it on paper? Do you often have to repeat math problems aloud
or in your head before you can figure them out? Do you just hate it when a teacher shows the
class how to figure out a math problem on the board, but doesn’t explain each step aloud while
writing it?
The following suggestions will be particularly helpful if you are a strong auditory learner but are
weaker in the visual area.
1. Sit near the front of the classroom so you can clearly hear your teacher without auditory
2. You may want to use a tape recorder during lectures and listen to each lecture as soon
after class as possible. Listen to it over and over again, when you drive, study, jog, or do
your chores.
3. Take part in classroom discussions.
4. Ask lots of questions in class, after class, and in help sessions. Ask for clarification if you
don’t completely follow an explanation in class.
5. Restate, in your own words, math concepts you are trying to understand.
6. Ask your math teacher to repeat important concepts.
7. Listen carefully to the math lecture. Mentally follow the concepts, then write them
down to capture what was said.
8. If you can’t get everything that the teacher writes on the blackboard, find a classmate
who seems to be more of a visual learner and is writing everything from the board. Ask
if you could photocopy this person’s notes after class.
9. When figuring out a difficult homework assignment, you may want to read it aloud into
a tape recorder and then listen to it and write it down.
10. Immediately after you read your math textbook assignment, recite aloud what you have
just learned.
11. Read your class notes and textbook notes aloud. Whenever possible, say them in your
own words into a tape recorder.
12. Talk about math to a study partner or to anyone who might listen. (I know some
students who have even explained their assignments to their pets.)
13. Listen for key words in your math lecture. Note if you instructor emphasizes certain
points through his or her tone of voice, emphasis on certain words, voice inflections,
and so on.
14. Record all the key concepts, formulas, explanations, and theorems on an audiocassette
and listen to them often.
Learning Styles and Mathematics
Was your score on the perceptual learning channel assessment highest in the
kinesthetic/tactile area? Do you prefer real-life experiences with math, manipulating it,
and experimenting with it? Do you find that you like to move around when you study,
pace the floor, or shift positions a lot?
Here are some strategies that may be useful to you if you are a kinesthetic/tactile
1. You must use a hands-on approach to learning. Work out as many math problems
as possible. Do, do, do. Practice, practice, practice. You’ll be amazed at the
positive results.
2. Whenever possible, convert what you are learning in math to real-life, concrete
experiences. If applicable, use measuring cups, measuring vials, toothpicks,
seeds, stones, marbles, paper clips, rulers, sticks.
3. If someone shows you how to do a problem, immediately ask if you could work
out a similar one to see if you understand how to do it.
4. While studying try to solve problems several different ways in order to decide
which method feels right to you.
5. Many kinesthetic/tactile learners find that they must move during the learning
process. You may want to walk to and fro while reading your assignment or even
while working out problems. Some students like to rock back and forth. Others
need to shift positions frequently. The movement seems to increase
understanding and comprehension for some highly kinesthetic people.
6. Use computers and workbooks.
7. While you exercise or engage in other types of physical activities, review your
math concepts in your mind.
8. Use your fingers and even your toes if this helps you when you figure out math
9. Rewrite class notes.
10. Use a calculator to solve problems.
11. If possible, use or build models to help you understand math concepts you learn.
12. Study math on an exercise bike – preferably one that has a reading stand
attached to it and that allows you to move your arms as well as your legs.
Learning Styles and Mathematics
Are you a strong visual learner? Do you find that you must see math problems written
on the blackboard or on paper before you can begin to understand and comprehend
what is being asked of you? Would it drive you crazy if you had to listen to a math
lecture and you had nothing to write with or if the teacher wrote nothing on the board?
Ted, a construction worker, returned to college after being out of school for almost ten
years. He really wanted to get his college degree, but math was terribly frustrating to
him. He could easily copy everything his instructor put on the blackboard, but he was
completely lost with the lecture. Math just did make sense to him when he listened to it.
Ted learned that he is a strong visual learner but a weak auditory learner. Once he
understood how he learned, he began using strategies to help him gain the most out of
his math classes and his studying. Soon Ted’s math achievement and his enjoyment of
math began to improve. Ted has continued to take math courses and is now doing well
in calculus and loving it.
Here are strategies that may be helpful to you if you are a strong visual learner but are
weaker in the auditory channel.
Always take written notes when someone is explaining math to you.
Whenever possible, ask for written instructions.
Make your own drawings or diagrams when figuring out word problems.
Use flashcards to review all important concepts, formulas, theorems, equations,
and explanations.
Write as much as you can when you study. Work out lots of problems.
In lecture, concentrate on what the instructor is writing on the blackboard and
copy everything down. If you can’t get much of what the teacher explains in class,
bring a tape recorder. Always reset the counter on the recorder to number one at
the beginning of the lecture. At points in the lecture where you don’t fully
understand what the teacher says, note the counter number on the recorder and
put it down in your notes. Later, you can listen carefully to the tape, paying
special attention to the sections where you jotted down the counter numbers.
Write down the information from the tape that you missed getting the first time.
Use two or more math books. Read how different authors explain the topics you
Visualize in your mind’s eye the math concepts you are learning.
Learning Styles and Mathematics
9. Use computer programs that illustrate concepts you are learning.
10. Read your textbook assignment and previous class notes before your next class.
11. Use workbooks, supplemental study guides, handouts.
12. Map out, chart, or in some way graphically illustrate your classroom and textbook
13. Always write in your textbook. Underline key words. Mark important concepts
and use colored pencils to liven them up.
14. Sit near the front of your classroom to avoid visual distractions and to pay closer
attention to your instructor.
15. When you review your classroom notes, creatively highlight the important points
with colored pencils or markers.
Teaching Style Categories
Formal Authority
Teachers who have a formal authority teaching style tend to focus on content. This style is
generally teacher-centered, where the teacher feels responsible for providing and controlling the
flow of the content and the student is expected to receive the content.
One type of statement made by an instructor with this teaching style is “I am the flashlight for my
students, I illuminate the content and materials so that my students can see the importance of the
material and appreciate the discipline.”
Teachers with this teaching style are not as concerned with building relationships with their
students nor is it as important that their students form relationships with other students. This
type of teacher doesn’t usually require much student participation in class. “Sage on the stage”
Demonstrator or Personal Model
Teachers who have a demonstrator or personal model teaching style tend to run teacher-centred
classes with an emphasis on demonstration and modeling. This type of teacher acts as a role
model by demonstrating skills and processes and then as a coach/guide in helping students
develop and apply these skills and knowledge.
A teacher with this type of teaching style might comment: “I show my students how to properly do
a task or work through a problem and then I’ll help them master the task or problem solution. It’s
important that my students can independently solve similar problems by using and adapting
demonstrated methods.”
Instructors with this teaching style are interested in encouraging student participation and
adapting their presentation to include various learning styles. Students are expected to take some
responsibility for learning what they need to know and for asking for help when they don’t
understand something.
Teachers who have a facilitator model teaching style tend to focus on activities. This teaching style
emphasizes student-centered learning and there is much more responsibility placed on the
students to take the initiative for meeting the demands of various learning tasks.
This type of teaching style works best for students who are comfortable with independent
learning and who can actively participate and collaborate with other students.
Teachers typically design group activities which necessitate active learning, student-to-student
collaboration and problem solving. This type of teacher will often try to design learning situations
and activities that require student processing and application of course content in creative and
original ways.
Teachers who have a delegator teaching style tend to place much control and responsibility for
learning on individuals or groups of students.
This type of teacher will often give students a choice designing and implementing their own
complex learning projects and will act in a consultative role.
Students are often asked to work independently or in groups and must be able to maintain
motivation and focus for complex projects. Students working in this type of setting learn more
than just course specific topics as they also must be able to effectively work in group situations
and manage various interpersonal roles.

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