How would you go about remembering the bulk of this new information? Anyone familiar with the work of Tony Buzan might create a mind map see Figure 2. How do you respond to this? Does it resonate with and reinforce the impressions of Chapter 1 that you have carried with you or does it irritate you? What are the implications of your response for your knowledge of your own learning methods?
They are, however, also invaluable as a tool for storing or revising information and, once students feel confident with them, many frequently fi nd themselves using them for virtually everything, whether it be revising for secondary-school examinations or planning the layout of a book. However, does this approach work for everyone?
The previous chapter should have given some indication as to why this might be. A mind map is primarily a visual tool. Frequently, words are kept to a minimum, and some students will use symbols where appropriate. Another characteristic of a concept map is that it is a map of the whole of a topic, and it is not, at fi rst glance, orderly or sequential.
Where does it start? Where does it fi nish? Can the reader follow it step by step? Which students might fi nd themselves in this predicament? Arguably, it will be those whose style strengths and preferences are not predominantly visual or wholistic — the student whose fi rst tool is language, whose preferred type to learning is linear, detail orientated and focused on a logical approach to learning where aspects of any topic are learned separately and stored in a logical, orderly sequence.
These students will probably fi nd other methods more congenial, unless they are shown ways in which to adapt the concept map approach to their own style preference. Chapters 7 and 8, which explore the needs of analytic and wholistic learners, should provide some help here. Although there is evidence, both anecdotal and in the increasing number of texts written for teachers e. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of these transferring children have not yet reached the stage of development where they are ready for this more abstract and verbal mode of presentation.
For further detail and discussion, see Piaget, ; Wood, ; Woolfolk, Stage Approximate ages Area of development 1. Sensory motor Birth—2 years Begins to use imitation, memory and thought. Moves from reflex to intentional action. Can only see world and events from own perspective 2.
Pre-operations 2—7 years Develops use of language and ability to think symbolically. Develops awareness of logical sequence of actions. Concrete operations 7—11 years Begins to develop a logically consistent system of thinking based on physical reality and concrete systems that can be organised and manipulated 4.
From 11 years Application of logical thought to abstract problems provide logical or sensible answers to practical problems closely related to the immediate concrete environment. Abstract reasoning does not begin until the child reaches the fourth stage of formal operations, where they begin to be able to go beyond defi ning problems in terms of physical actions and their outcomes and to be able to apply logical thought to abstract problems and concepts, for example issues of morality, religion or politics.
It is only at this stage that students begin to be able to hold and test a range of hypotheses in their heads, and it is debatable as to whether many students are capable of doing this effectively even by the age of 15, let alone 11 when, in the UK, they transfer to secondary school. Some learning style theorists have also suggested the possibility of stages of development. It would, however, suggest that a verbal style, based on listening, is the most mature style and that many students might not have developed this.
Appendix 2 contains a few suggestions as to how to help them learn. However, it would be unwise to expect all learners to respond positively to this approach. Matching the mode to the style It seems clear that different modes of presentation suit different students. As always, nothing is quite that simple.
Common sense might suggest that the most effective learning would take place when instruction and style are matched. As Chasty suggests , if a student cannot learn in the way a teacher teaches, the teacher must teach in the way the student learns. However, this hypothesis is not universally accepted, despite the fact that the majority of studies, based on a range of the models already presented, suggest that matching style preference with presentation mode does give rise to more successful learning outcomes.
Studies have been undertaken within the style mapping approach. Dunn refers to studies that indicate the benefits of individualising teaching to match learning style preferences, as measured by the Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model, with particular gains occurring at the initial presentation of new learning either for students with strong style preferences Dunn, or in a situation where the small size of the group, or the level of student maturity, allowed greater focusing on metacognitive processes. The methodology used and scale of the studies have, however, been strongly criticised Coffield et al.
There are some predictable findings. It was, however, within the area of gender differences where expectation of the positive impact of style matching was not confi rmed. There is much ongoing research in the area of gender differences in learning and academic achievement from the much-publicised concern over the comparative underachievement of boys in secondary schools to suggested differences in underlying cognitive processing in boys and girls. Interpretation is always difficult as it is hard to distinguish between cultural and biological influences on behaviour.
It is therefore useful to look at the most basic levels of information processing and how this is expressed in cognitive style. However, there was a suggestion that there is a difference in the processing of information with males processing information faster but more as a superficial scan while females were slower and more thorough. This may be linked with a gender difference in the location of activity within the brain.
There is also a suggestion that, in some situations, females, unlike males, do better when their cognitive style does not theoretically suit the task. These issues of gender and brain activity are examined more thoroughly later in relation to dyslexia and its impact on each particular learning style.
The overall thrust of these studies supports the matching hypothesis. Stellwagen and Desmedt and Valcke , however, suggest that there is little reliable empirical evidence and state that style matching is a teacher-driven concept of education, which is now being superseded as students are being encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning processes. Once again, we find disagreement among researchers in the field of style. How is the practitioner to move forward?
Dyslexia and learning style: a practitioner's handbook
It is true that it is difficult to attribute learning success to a match between style preference and presentation rather than to any of a range of other influences in the classroom, including teacher skill, group dynamic, and student motivation. It would seem crucial to give both students and teachers a chance to explore their own underlying preferences and to take responsibility for using the approaches that work best for them and for the full range of their students.
The next question, of course, is how? Identifying cognitive or learning style To enable a learner to make use of style theory, the style preferences must be identified. Currently style can be assessed using activities such as written or computer-delivered questionnaires, interviews or observation of behaviours. Hit number was offering yet another seemingly plausible questionnaire. This is bewildering — how can we be selective?
Coffield and his colleagues suggested that all assessment measures for learning style should meet four psychometric criteria in terms of internal consistency, reliability and validity. They evaluated 13 style models, which are included in Appendix 6. Of all the assessment tools they investigated, only one met those standards. However, this is not to say that these assessment instruments should all be abandoned.
They can be used carefully as a way of developing awareness of style and how it affects learning. Application of learning style theory has limited rather than liberated this learner. Unresolved controversies as to stability of style across time and context should also not be forgotten. It is also important to distinguish between identifying style for research purposes and exploring learning preferences for educational reasons.
Coffield and his colleagues based much of their criticism of style assessment on the type of psychometric research paradigm that demands validity and reliability over time. On the other hand, as a teacher, my aim may be different — to encourage learners to explore the ways in which they learn best.
Thus, the assessment tool becomes a means of establishing a dialogue between students and teachers. This can provide opportunities for students to discuss and develop their learning power Deakin Crick, and for mutual acknowledgement that ways of learning which may be different from the standard ways accepted in an institution are respectable.
This can empower students and allow them to transform what may formerly have been dependent or humiliating relationships with teachers into ones built on trust and mutual respect. It could be argued that there are three criteria we need to consider: 1. Are we comfortable with the theoretical underpinnings to the assessment instrument? We must be certain that we understand any assumptions made and are aware of any research backing? Do they really assess what they claim to?
Dyslexia and Learning Style: A Practitioner's Handbook - lypyfano.tk
Are we certain as to the suitability of the instrument for our purpose, the context and the age group? Chapter 1 reviewed the broad range of models of cognitive and learning style. It also outlined the basic differences in focus and scope between two major approaches: 1. Given and Reid describe in detail the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, a representative and well-used example of this approach Figure 2.
This has been extensively researched in classroom settings and covers five domains of experience: the reflective, emotional, sociological, physical and psychological.
- Dyslexia and Learning Style: A Practitioner's Handbook by Tilly Mortimore.
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Stylistic preferences within these five domains influence learning outcomes. Figure 2. Published by Allyn and Bacon MA. Copyright by Pearson Education. Reprinted by permission of the publishers. It is widely in use in the United States of America with much reported success. It does, however, have various drawbacks, not the least being the practical fact that it has items and therefore takes considerable time to administer.
It has also been criticised on statistical grounds. However, unless we are concerned with labelling students and issues of reliability and validity for research purposes, this should not prevent its use as a way of helping students to think about how they like to learn. For example, do they fi nd it easier to learn with music playing or in silence, alone behind a shut door or surrounded by activity, in a group through discussion or carrying out independent research?
Does time of day, the need to move about, or the need to eat affect them?
Dunn suggests that, although robust learners may not be deeply affected by situations that do not complement their preferences, vulnerable learners, or those tackling a new or really challenging task, can be thrown off track by seemingly minor circumstances that could easily be altered. It also has implications for classroom organisation, which will be discussed in Chapter 6. There are, however, drawbacks in the use of self-report questionnaires in that they have to be carefully designed to be reliable Denscombe, and are never guaranteed to be an accurate reflection of what a person actually does.
Any questionnaire should be reviewed carefully to ensure that they meet our criteria as described in this chapter. Some will be designed for the students themselves to answer, as in Ostler and Ward Others are for teachers to record observations about children or to monitor their own style of teaching. Many questionnaires are based on the Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic VAK or Visual, Auditory, Reading and Kinaesthetic VARK models, the validity and reliability of which aroused particularly severe criticism from Coffield and his team on grounds ranging from the nature of the model, which seems to suggest that the role of the different senses within cognitive processing can be untangled in some way, to the crude design of some of the questionnaires, which frequently made judgements based on a minimum number of responses.
Through this understanding you can maximise your learning potential. Learning Style Inventory Name: ————————————————— Date: —————————————————— Score 3 for mostly, 2 for sometimes and 1 for rarely. Tick what applies to you Mostly Sometimes Rarely 1. I am physically demonstrative and find clapping, hugging, patting friends on the back quite natural. I find it easier to learn by listening rather than by reading. I follow verbal directions more easily than written ones. I prefer to transfer written text into illustrations, charts and diagrams to understand them. I prefer written instructions to verbal instructions.
I need to highlight keywords in order to understand the question. I tape notes to help me revise. I prefer text that is written on pastel rather than white paper. My hand aches if I write for more than ten minutes. I learn best through physically undertaking a task when possible. I remember best by creating a mental picture of information. I need to read information or an instruction aloud in order to understand it.
I chew the ends of pens and pencils when thinking. I enjoy research-type activities where I can search out information on the Internet or in the library. I enjoy walking round when revising where possible. Reproduced by permission of the authors.
It might well be risky to utilise such a style instrument in a research study. However, as a way of helping students to think about and discuss their preferred ways of learning, a carefully designed example like this one, is helpful. Like many others it is based on a range of academic and everyday tasks and makes the students think about how they go about tackling them. It is becoming increasingly common in Further or Higher Education in the UK to issue questionnaires to students on induction to encourage them to think more about their learning preferences and develop an objective attitude to their learning.
Some, such as Studyscan Zdzienski, , which is combined with a screening for dyslexia, are computer administered and scored. Others are pen and paper. The one illustrated in Figure 2. Put a tick in the box to make your choice. Spelling a word a Write it down b Imagine what it looks like c Say each letter out 3. Learning a foreign word a Repeating it out loud to yourself b Writing it out over and over again c Looking at a picture next to the word 4. Learning a history fact a Watch a video b Listen to a person on a radio explaining what happened c Role play- act out what happened 5.
Learning how something works a Take the object apart and try to put it back together b Look at a diagram or a picture on the board c Listen to a speaker telling you about it Figure 2. Different ways of learning 6. Learning a new sport a Watch a demonstration b Repeat back instructions to the coach c Do it 8. Learning a new move on a trampoline a Let the coach support you through the movements so you feel how to do it b Look at diagrams of the move on cards flash cards c Talk through the movements with a friend 9.
Learning how to use a new tool in the workshop a Listen to your friend explain how to use it b Teach someone else how to use it c Watch someone else use it Learning how to make a surry a Look at the instructions on the packet b Listen to a tape about what to do c Try to make it Learning how the eye works a Listen to a Doctor telling you b Make a model c Look at a diagram of the eye Figure 2.
It takes as its basis a range of academic and everyday tasks and makes the student think about what kind of approach they would take to each one. Each answer is allegedly linked to a particular mode and as such throws up questions, such as whether saying letters out loud when learning spellings really represents an auditory method. It is simplistic, fairly representative of its kind and useful as a way of getting students to focus on the way they learn, possibly for the fi rst time in their academic lives. He also provides a useful range of exercises and strategies to demonstrate the theory that he explores.
He suggests two ways of investigating where an individual might fall on a verbaliser-imager dimension, one of which is based on a type of questionnaire. It contains tasks where you have to create a mental picture of an absent friend and rate yourself on how vivid the image is. Robertson also p. Can you do arithmetic by imagining the numbers written up on a board? Do you fi nd it hard to create a mental picture of anything? Do you prefer problems based on words e.
Is most of your thinking verbal — in other words do you tend to speak to yourself in your head?
The fi rst three indicate the imager, the last three the verbaliser. The majority of people will tend to be somewhere in the middle although many are more extreme. Robertson also suggested that the comparative speed with which an adult reads two passages of equal length 50 words , one full of vivid images, the other more abstract, can indicate preferences.
They will, however, be able to remember more of the visual passage than the verbalisers. Using observation The advantages of observing behaviour are that it occurs in real or natural settings across alternative situations, it is direct rather than relying on reported strategies, it is diagnostic and it can go on informally within ordinary class work.
It does need to be systematic, and ideally a teacher or classroom assistant should use an observational record sheet they have devised to suit the requirements of the situation. For example, when trying to determine which modality — visual, auditory or tactual — a student favours, Given and Reid suggest that some of the following aspects of behaviour can be significant: 1. Do you get the picture? Talk me through that. Spontaneous choice of ways of showing knowledge — would it be writing, drawing, talking or demonstrating? What type of learning generates signs of tension?
What types of instructions does the student fi nd easiest to follow — written, oral, visual or demonstrated? What does the student choose to do with spare time — listen to music, draw, construct, play sports or other physical exercise? Does the student spontaneously use maps, diagrams, notes or oral rehearsal when trying to remember something?
Using a combination of techniques: style and mathematics Style is as relevant to mathematics as it is to any other area of the curriculum. Tick appropriate column each time behaviour is observed. Ticks in the No column of the wholist section may be an indication of an analytic learning preference.
Those whose role includes the teaching or support of dyslexic mathematicians should consult Chinn and Ashcroft , Chinn , , , Kay and Yeo , Yeo , Butterworth and Yeo or Clausen-May who provide excellent combinations of theory and detailed practice. Chinn and Ashcroft also provide discussion as to the relationship between dyscalculia and dyslexia, which remains unresolved. They are methodical, like to follow rules and proceed step by step. Qualitative learners are more intuitive and holistic — they tend to make use of what may be a more visual approach to see patterns and to reach conclusions without making use of step-by-step calculations.
As with Inchworm I. Analysing and identifying the problem II. Solving the problem III. Checking and evaluating Grasshopper 1. Focuses on the parts and details; separates 1.
Tends to overview; holistic; puts together 2. Looks at the numbers and facts to select a relevant formula or procedure 2. Looks at the numbers and facts to estimate an answer or restrict the range of the answer; controlled exploration 3. Answer orientated 4.
Flexible focusing; methods change 5. Often works back from a trial answer; multi-method shot gun 6. Rarely documents the method; performs calculation mentally 8. Likely to appraise and evaluate answer against original estimate; checks by an alternate method 3. Formula, procedure orientated 4. Constrained focus; uses a single method 5.
Works in serially ordered steps, usually forward rifle 6. Uses numbers exactly as given 7. More comfortable with paper and pen; documents the method 8. Unlikely to check or evaluate the answer; if check is done, uses the same procedure or method 9. Often does not understand procedure or values of numbers; works mechanically 9. Has good understanding of the numbers, methods and relationships Figure 2.
Reproduced from Chinn and Ashcroft with permission from the authors. The inchworm needs to be helped to see why particular strategies are needed to solve a problem. The grasshopper needs to be encouraged to document methods and check the details of answers. They recommend using a combination of techniques to create a maths profile, which includes a measurement of cognitive style in mathematics. Kay and Yeo suggest that some standardised tests lend themselves to diagnostic use and suggest the Wide Range Achievement Test WRAT3, available from the Dyslexia Institute , the Basic Number Screening Test, Graded Arithmetic Mathematics Test, or Mathematics Competency Test all available from Hodder and Stoughton , which should be administered in such a way as to give the learner the opportunity to explain how items were worked out.
Chinn has developed the Test of Thinking Style in Mathematics, Chinn, an Informal Assessment of Numeracy Skills, which is a diagnostic battery of tests, including a cognitive style test. They also suggest that observation of the way a learner tackles maths will give a very clear indication of their predominant style. Chinn and Ashcroft suggest that observation of the mathematical strategies a child uses, such as whether fingers are counted to add the numbers 8 and 7 or 2 x 8 minus 1 is used, or how a subtraction sum such as minus is done, will give a good idea as to whether the child is a quantitative or qualitative learner.
For example, they provide a chess board and ask the learner to decide how many squares are black. The inchworm is likely either, at the most basic level, to count the squares or, slightly more sophisticated, to use some computation of multiplying the number of black squares on each side with the number of black squares on the other — this is misleading! The holist grasshopper may work on the idea of multiplying the total number of squares on each side of the board to work out the total and then halve it.
It is either a parts to whole or a whole to parts approach. Sharma predicts that a qualitative learner will start with the outline, whereas a quantitative learner will start with the detail. This multi-method approach to assessment can be applied to other curriculum areas. The cognitive processing model As practitioners, we are concerned with developing the skills of our students and many of these skills could be said to boil down to the processing that underlies the learning. It focuses on the cognitive basis for organising incoming information and establishes a style profi le based on this.
There is, however, also a body of research that links particular cognitive styles with social behaviours and suggests that it may also be possible to ascertain the social settings that will be most congenial to learners. This is described in Chapter 6. It takes about 20 minutes and does not need teacher input. An accompanying handbook Riding b gives information as to the learning and behavioural implications for this style. How does it measure each dimension? The computer records the response time to each statement and calculates the Verbaliser-Imager ratio.
A low ratio indicates a Verbaliser and a high ratio an Imager with the intermediate position being described as Bimodal. In this approach individuals have to read both the verbal and the imagery items so that reading ability and reading speed have no effect on the outcome Riding This reflects the way an individual organises information — either in parts or as a whole. It is likely that a person will be further from the central position on one style than on the other, and this will mean that the effect of one style will probably be more noticeable and will be dominant. Is the CSA considered empirically sound?
The CSA had become a widely-used tool, particularly within the field of education where a number of research studies showed its practical implementation for classroom use. Unfortunately the CSA did not emerge unscathed from the Coffield Review despite the fact that Riding and Riding and Rayner provide considerable evidence, through a range of studies that it is valid or, in other words, that it does measure what it claims.
An index of reliability is, to some extent, built into the CSA by the speed index and percentage correct scores which indicate 1 how carefully an individual did the CSA and 2 whether they were able to do it. It had previously been criticised by Peterson and her colleagues a who had been concerned by the lack of research on its stability and internal consistency and constructed a parallel version of the test to carry out test-re-test reliability examinations on the original and their devised parallel forms.
Their conclusions were that there were questions over the validity of the Verbaliser-Imager construct, that neither dimensions remained consistent over time and that the test needed to be lengthened to establish consistency in the Wholist-Analytic dimension. As with so many things in the style field, it is impossible to be totally confident. However, the same methods of questionnaires and observation referred to earlier in this chapter can be used. This will not have the same precision or objective validity as using the assessment instrument.
At this point, observation techniques to gather information about preferences in other domains can be used if required, but this is not essential. It is obviously up to educators to come to their own conclusions about this method and its implementation. It is easy to oversimplify the results and implications of any research.
Here are three examples: 1. Until you notice that on Tuesday, when given the choice of a range of sources to research his project, Toby, a year-old able student with dyslexia, chose to take notes from a fairly complex library book. On Wednesday he rejected this and insisted on using a video to make a mind map. On Thursday he used written material cut and pasted from a CD Rom and on Friday he announced he would like to present his fi ndings as a mixture of posters and oral explanation. What is going on here? When asked to produce his own mind map of the events of the play Romeo and Juliet, he looked completely bewildered.
What went wrong there? Arguably the most valuable conclusion is that nothing can be taken for granted. This resonates strongly with one of the most established techniques of teachers working with students with dyslexia — the multi-sensory approach. It investigates the changes in presentational style confronted by children on transfer from primary to secondary schools and the difficulties for those whose verbal or abstract skills are less fully developed.
It discusses evidence for and against the efficacy of matching learner and presentational style with the conclusion that giving the individual student the chance to identify preferences is crucial. It presents and weighs up two major approaches to identifying style preferences: 1. It also cautions against oversimplifying the role played in learning by style. Chapter 3 starts to apply learning style theory to working with students with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties.
There is a student at the front of the class. The students are talking about the environment, the threats posed by pollution and global warming. Her hand goes up again and again. Each time her comment is both original and to the point. Not only that but she can talk at some length and discusses eagerly with her friends when they go into groups to collect ideas for written homework.
Next day she hands in her work. It is half a side, untidy, simplistic. The teacher challenges her. Another lunchtime spent in detention. There is another student at the back of the class. His legs are stuck out across the gangway. His file seems to have exploded onto his desk. His shirt is hanging out; his tie is nowhere. When the teacher turns his back there always seems to be a ripple of counter-culture from that corner of the room.
Forget it. There is a little boy at the side of the class. Other students seem to pick on him a bit. Additionally, the European-wide interest in dyslexia, assisted by organizations such as the European Dyslexia Association EDA , is constantly increasing with a considerable amount coming from central and eastern Europe.
Therefore, the inception of the first European-wide dyslexia awareness week in and the first EDA All European Conference on Dyslexia in Budapest in comes as no surprise. In addition to those events mentioned above there have been successful local, national and other international events in dyslexia run by education authorities, voluntary organisations, such as parents' organisations, and professional societies. All have contributed to the developments in teacher training, assessment and teaching materials, and interest in research.
This has resulted in an increased awareness and enhanced professionalism of those involved in the area of dyslexia. These developments have certainly been evident in the UK at local as well as national level. Many education authorities have produced policy and documentation on dyslexia. Additionally, working party enquiries into dyslexia and psychological assessment, and assessment and support in further and higher education for students with dyslexia have taken place. There has also been government-led task group investigations into practice in dyslexia both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in and The chapter on international perspectives Chapter 15 highlights other examples of government initiatives throughout Europe, New Zealand and the USA.