A footnote to a handout: organize this, too

We cannot learn a first language through a print medium. That is not because print is visually processed – sign language is visually processed. We have some ability to learn a second language through print, but we still need other visual aids (pictures, diagrams, acting) more, with and around which we interact in the target language.

This is why I will be trying to act things out or use non-written visual aids as much or more than writing, and certainly much more than translation.

Recent studies of the claim that different learning styles require different modes of teaching presentation indicate that there is no good empirical basis for that claim. See, for example, Brown, Roediger and McDaniel, Make it Stick, and Dehaene, Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read. The latter book points out as well that reading is not “visual” the way images are in the brain.

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3 Responses to A footnote to a handout: organize this, too

  1. Z says:

    “Learning styles” is just one of a number of ways of talking about how different people process information– but it has been made a kind of facile absolute in some education systems and in the process some students have been truly limited by the sense of themselves as being able to really only learn in a certain way to fit their style.

    They believe they can’t learn unless information is presented to them in a way that fits their particular “style” (it becomes kind of consumerist–“I’m sorry, this lesson doesn’t fit! Can I have one in a different size/shape/color? Thanks!”).

    This attitude seems to be what Z is running into.
    25 mins · Edited · Unlike · 4

    Oh I like that language and idea: perhaps make the second part of handout about learning preferences and learning prejudices.
    24 mins · Unlike · 1

    Sometimes to vary the small-group discussion routine, I’ll ask “visual learners” to self-identify, and then i ask the people who’ve raised their hands to work in a small group to draw some visual representation of the text or ideas we’re working on on the board while other groups work on the same material in a different way. I’ve been tempted to identify the “kinetic learners” and ask them to do an interpretive dance, but so far I’ve resisted that urge.
    23 mins · Unlike · 2

    And remind students that they have to embrace all of these to learn a language!
    21 mins · Unlike · 2

    Accepting that there are different learning styles, one could argue that learning in a different style than one is inclined towards could in fact enhance learning. Stretch the brain, challenge oneself, etc.
    15 mins · Unlike · 1

  2. Z says:

    Learning a language holds challenges for all kinds of learners. And students should be reminded that to learn a language they must use all learning styles.

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