Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,

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There is auditory/visual/sensory type of learning styles.What other styles may exist? How can we better cater to these learning styles?

Temple Grandin is a very perculiar person with a whole lot of manners and an even bigger heart. After watching her movie, I was inspired!

Finding her on ted was amazing! Her tedtalk was very insightful and helpful in using a persons natural born fixations to get their skills to their highest potential.

After watching her tedtalk, I found that maybe there are more learnings styles that have yet to be categorized.

For instance, is there a name for learning by emotions or gut feeling? Just a random thought that popped into my head, but have no more knowledge for deeper elaboration.

I agree with Temple Grandin; let's make a better world today for the children that will inherit the Earth tommorrow!

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    Jul 4 2012: If we're honest, school is about logisitics - handling large numbers of kids while mum and dad are at work. Until this is acknowledged and dealt with, all the flowery rhetoric about learning styles and creativity are best saved for expensive conferences.

    Ministries of education and governments don't want to know. These plonkers still need statistics to justify spending your tax money on your kids, which is why there is so much emphasis on Reading, Writing and Maths. Good luck getting these accountants-cum-politicians to comprehend anything that is not a black and white percentile.

    Reading and Writing still hog the limelight in schools. If you don't believe it, try starting a conversation about how reading/writing is on the way out and watch everyone react in protest.

    I believe we are 3 generations deep in visual/video literate people and we underutilise TV and video as creative and communication tools. Writing and reading will morph back into hieroglyphs and characters (it's started already) and those we have traditionally dubbed 'illiterate' will no longer be as disadvantaged by a print-obsessed world.

    Mind you, everyone seems to class themselves as visual learners these days (it's as trendy as the whole multi-tasking joke several years ago) so more time and investigation needs to go into what these learning styles are all about. As usual, we're really just naming boxes and categorising people according to latest academic trend.

    It's a lovely idea but it would be terrible to see classes streamed by "intelligence/learning style". I don't think this would achieve anything. Not to mention, you'd have to match teaching styles with learning styles and I doubt any bureaucrat worth their red-tape would fork out extra cash for that to happen :)
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      Jul 13 2012: So, Scott, you're saying learning starts at home or parents mentality to educations need to be shifted in a more active/hands-on approach?
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        Jul 13 2012: Life-long Learner is one of many new buzzwords floating to the top of the porcelain bowl of education at the moment.

        You will hear teachers and principals regurgitating this phrase as their ultimate goal as an educator or leader in education.

        This is one of the issues I have with education at the moment - the proliferation of moronic catch-cries that say less than nothing.

        In fact, all children are born lifelong learners. There is no secret recipe for learning. It is certainly not something that only happens in a classroom, though we are trying desperately to externalise the process (so that it may be more easily assessed).

        In fact, the vast majority of what children learn in these cramped and time-starved institutions would go unseen by the teacher and never assessed. I'm talking about relationships - peers, student/teacher, child/adult, adult/adult - between people.

        What goes on between curriculum delivery is where the real learning happens.

        Needless to say, all of this can happen at home. Hit the 2 main buttons at a very early age and everything else will follow:

        Physical activity - crawling, walking, catching, climbing, grabbing, skipping, throwing, twisting, dancing, rolling, swimming, running. Gross and Fine motor skills develop coordination which is essential for brain development (and affects many other elements, like language acquisition).

        Oral Language - flowery, descriptive, funny, silly, non-sense, double entendre, puns, words, letters, sounds, complex language, multiple ways to describe something - reading and writing depend heavily on the development of oral language.

        Then, if you need to work to earn enough money to feed your little darlings, send them off to school. They get to make some great friends and learn how to socialise.

        Just don't put too much stock in tests and remember that your child as a learner is important, not the assessment system they are constantly being fit to.
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          Jul 14 2012: Emotional literacy should be implemented into future education to teach students about the diversities of the world and all the good and bad events in the world at a young age, not like how in america they teach their grade school children that christopher columbus was the first person in america.

          I recall you wrote you were a teacher or is a teacher in school at some point in time?

          I think the mentality that school is day care must be changed, but that is difficult when most higher education is left for the curious, determined, and the rich. Most parents I have met usually just finished some basic college education and had to work to feed their children when they were in their early 20's. Kinda sad, but not sure if I am making a blanket statement there.
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        Jul 15 2012: America has it's own version of history (as we all do) and that's where things can get a bit iffy when it comes to a "global community". New Zealand history is recent and turbulent and of course, we don't go near it. Not at primary school, anyway.

        I really think you would be pushing it uphill when it comes to emotional literacy.

        The trouble is, this doesn't get taught as curriculum content (it really is a parental responsibility) but it gets learned by kids as they piece together how society really works (relationships not bells and timetables).

        I'm not sure if emotional literacy is something teachable (in an explicit and formally assessed way, as we know it), more something worth recognising when it is present in a student's actions and thoughts.

        Unfortunately, no matter how much we want it to be otherwise, school is very much daycare - this is what brings in all the admin and logistics-management that ties up the so-called "educators".

        As you say, money would solve this problem, but no-one's giving any away..
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          Jul 16 2012: I am going to politely dislike and disagree that k-12 grades is seen as daycare, but I do agree that something needs to be changed about the whole mentality department, somewhere. The question is what is it (on a consensus basis) and how to fix it?

          Maybe the "daycare" idea is what some parents/people think, but there might be an underlying issue we haven't uncovered or we missed that your idea fits with....well, that is where my knowledge fails me, due to lack of experience. =/
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        Jul 16 2012: I don't think parents view school as day-care. Nor do teachers.

        I'm saying that the system is set up, or has become entrenched, as little more than day-care.

        This is not to say that there is not any robust teaching and learning happening, I was referring to the way that the funding, reporting and assessment (of schools and their socio-economic community) is carried out.

        The answer is simple: More money, (much) smaller class sizes and more teachers.

        The problem is: bureaucrats deciding on your behalf how your tax money should be spent on your kids whilst pinching pennies.

        As history has shown, this won't happen under current modes of operation.

        Given the trends in education based around the popularity explosion of digital technology, then, until telecommunications infrastructure is robust and cheap enough (nowhere near this in New Zealand) as well as hardware (Apples for Teacher and Student!) being free or heavily subsidised, then we can certainly think of school as day-care (industrial model day-care) that all the salubrious rhetoric and ideals in the cyber-world won't fix.
  • Jul 22 2012: Dr. Howard Gardner in his book "Frames of Mind" published in 1983, Basic Books, Inc., NYC, proposed multiple, separate intelligences, including linguistic intelligence, musical intelligence, logical-mathermatical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence and the personal intelligences. It's sad to see that the marvelous concepts introduced in this and other Gardner books as part of the Project on Human Potential at Harvard seem to have been left behind in discussions on intelligence and creativity. " Art, Mind, and Brain": A Cognitive Approach to Creativity (1982), is equally thought provoking. The mutually exclusive dualism of intelligence and creativity do not exist in reality. It is our iron jawed determination to prepare young people for the world of techno-industrialism by separating the two that is the single biggest error made in designing school curricula, I suspect. It is also how we take children who are enthusiastic learners, hard wired by nature to learn, learn, learn and never stop exploring, and turn them into model educated robots who are happy to have their lives defined in cubicles, bits, and pieces to serve the needs of society as defined by a ruling class of employers. I think. Given the infininite potential of a child and the sad realizations of that potential by HS education in America, obviously something is going very very wrong. I think Gardner points out some of the underlying, fundamental "whats and whys".
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      Jul 23 2012: Thank You Kathy! I think I can understand your passion from reading your comment. I will check it out. =)
  • Jul 9 2012: What if we had classrooms dedicated to specific learning styles instead of chronological age? Teachers could share the same learning styles as their students and present all the material in ways students could easily understand. If public school is a logistics game, this would actually be more efficient than the current system.
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      Jul 13 2012: I really like your idea Kelly, but how the system you describe like or better than the current "logistics game", though first describe what YOU mean by "public school is a logistics game".

      Thanks for reading my thoughts, and hope to read yours. =)
  • Jul 4 2012: I would give one that I'm quite sure exist because I'm one myself; learning by logical patterns. Or if you prefer the 'it makes senses' way.

    I simply cannot learn random facts, they don't stick in my brain. If you gives me a set of random physical laws, I will only forget them. However, if you can thread links between them and others more basic one I know already, I learn at a tremendous speed. I need to know the links and interactions between the different parts of knowledge I try to learn. Software are just that, they have a few set of very basic rules and everything else is built on top of that. Once I knew those rules, I was able learn any software with ease.

    Surprisingly, I have no higher educaton degree, and yet I'm a technical director in video games industry. You might laugh, but video games engines are now complex massive beasts that can rival in complexity the design of an airplane's engine and every years they grow in complexity. So why I fit so well in that job that requires me to learn new thing at incredible speed and yet I had problem with school? A video game engine is a huge ammount of small parts that all work with each other toward a common goal, to run the game. It is a technical work of art. Even with people with many years of experience, rare are those that can say they know an engine inside out from the point of view of every worker type; artist, designer, animators, sound, programmer, writer, etc. Some would say that there's just too many information to retain for all those worker type. And yet I thrive in that simply because everything is linked in logical patterns. I may not know everything by heart, but I can deduce the answers easily because everything work the same way and follow the same rules.

    My brain is built upon those logical patterns. I can remember a huge amount of information because I only learn the very small part of a new idea that was missing from the other idea's patterns I already know.
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      Jul 13 2012: That's Amazing Marc!

      That just shows that school isn't for everyone, but learning is forever! =D

      Thanks for the inspiration!
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    Lejan .

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    Jul 3 2012: Hello Derek,

    thank you for sharing this interesting question.

    I would consider 'reasoning' as a way of learning style. In this way we learn about what we can not hear, nor see, nor touch...

    Lerning by emotions or gut feeling I would call intuition. The only problem here is, that it can not proof its quality. If you didn't follow your intuition and it turns out good, you get one set of data, which equals to those when it doesn't. But if you follow your instinct, you don't know what would have happened if you didn't. So learning this way makes it abit difficult if the result would be optimized. Yet, nevertheless, I tend to follow all the times... :o)
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      Jul 13 2012: Thanks for the comment Jan.

      Though I am asking if the individual person was born or excels at a certain learning style.

      I think "reasoning" would be a basic level for learning styles, but what specific type of reasoning did you have in mind? =)
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        Lejan .

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        Jul 13 2012: Hello Derek,

        yes you are right. Reasoning is the basic level for all the forms you mentioned.

        But I like to give you an example what I had in mind.

        When I was a little boy a physicist once told me about black holes in the universe which contained so much mass, that even light could not escape them.

        I was highly impressed by this and started thinking for myself. I figured, that if light was just at the edge in a certain distance not to 'fall in', it would still have changed it's original path yet would continue on the new one. By this and a bit more sofisticated equipment than my childrens telescope, it was clear to me that you could detect a black hole by searching for those deflected light patterns. Years later in my cosmology class at the University my knowledge was confirmed, which made me smile a bit and wonder how clever I once was and why this did't continue... :o)
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          Jul 13 2012: I think your cleverness continued Jan! You're just accustomed to your own cleverness, so maybe you overlook it. =)

          Very fascinating stuff when it comes to space and physicists. How did you meet a physicist as a boy anyways? I'm jealous! =P
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    Jul 3 2012: The best known scholar in this field is Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
    If you do an internet search for him or also include the words "learning styles" or "types of intelligence," you will find his enumeration of types of learners.

    Researchers since his initial work was applied across the United States, at least, to classroom pedagogy have tended to take the position that learners do not fall in only one category of how they learn or how they learn best, but rather that students learn best when they encounter the material at hand in a way that engages them through multiple learning styles.

    Emotional and motor intelligence are two more for your list, but I think Gardner's full list has eight or ten.
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      Jul 13 2012: I found the most helpful to be simple pictures.

      Are these links correct?

      http://old.dmps.k12.ia.us/schools/2Goodrell/Multiple_Intelligences_diagram3.jpg

      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nf4TRpH-fkU/TlkyAa9JrTI/AAAAAAAAAY8/_JpOCH5KaHQ/s1600/mi%5B1%5D.gif

      http://identityandtype.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/multiple_intelligences1.gif

      Implementing specified education with special teachers would be awesome, but someone told me that, that isn't realistic, so I say revolutionalize education! =P
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        Jul 13 2012: The use of this understanding of learning styles in the classroom is widespread and the use of auditory, visual, motor, and emotional components of learning in the classroom is practically universal, at least in the United States.I am not at the moment looking back at the list, but invoking the artistic and musical are more common in the earlier than in the later grades, but technology has brought that more into the later grades as well, through high school, where multimedia projects have become almost the norm.

        Often what seems a revolutionary idea to those of us outside k12 classrooms has been taking place in classrooms for a very long time, because people in the field learn about it first and apply it before the rest of us even hear about it!

        There is a lot of room for improvement in how schools make sure all students learn to think critically, to learn throughout their lifetimes, and to acquire essentially literacy skills across subjects. But I find that popular perceptions of school pedagogy and practice are almost shockingly out of date.

        Every day I learn that many people believe that schools today are mostly lecture, that school curriculum focus on producing laborers, and that schools deemphasize critical thinking. I think this misconception about what schools have long been trying to do is tragic, reduces support for schools, and doesn't help move education forward for all children.
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          Jul 13 2012: Ah, I believe we all place ourselves back in our k12 classrooms and see be critical about our own out come of being in those classrooms, or at least I do. I didn't feel as though my education gave me the skills I needed until I reached college. Possibly it was my own mentality and my own lack of awareness of my individuality that caused me to think like that, but I possibly learned more than I think back then, though my social skills were far below average as a child, so that might be another factor, haha!

          So another point you mention is that certain grade levels cater to certain types of learning?
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        Jul 13 2012: It has long been understood that cognitive development takes place over the life cycle. Small children first work with the very concrete, and the ability to think abstractly comes with maturation The ability to assess what we understand (knowing what we know) begins to develop seriously in adolescence. Of course initially little children cannot read, so having them learn by reading for themselves or writing for themselves comes in later.

        Teachers who teach people of different age groups learn about what sorts of activities are, and are not yet, developmentally appropriate.
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          Jul 14 2012: So what if somewhere along the road that individual child learns in a different way(example hands-on learning rather than written learner) than he/she was brought up in k-5 (can be changed depending on statistical research in my imagined future) grades?

          I think maybe the beginning of k-5 should be focused on developing the well rounded skills, while teachers assess what type of learner the individual child is, then in 6-12 (can be changed depending on statiscal research in my imagined future) grades the student will have a specialized instructor that teaches the students mostly/all the same concepts, but with the specific intent to cater to that individualized type of learning instead of inconsistently bouncing the student around in different types of learning styles.
          Doesn't that seem more effective, than making each grade level to be a specific type of learning?
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        Jul 14 2012: Each grade level is not a specific style of learning. Everyone at all ages benefits from hands on learning.There are some kinds of learnings that are not suitable for the very young. The menu of options gets larger as students get older.
        Students benefit in every classroom from experiencing concepts being approached through multiple means that address the many different ways each individual can learn. None of us fits in only one narrow box. None of us learns only one way.
        Teachers tend to teach a diverse array of students in the classroom and therefore use a variety of approaches as a matter of course to accomodate the different learning styles in the room. This is part of every teacher's portfolio of skills rather than only a specialty of the few.
        It's actually a skilled profession that involves mandatory continuing training in pedagogy that corresponds to the latest research about how students learn.
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          Jul 14 2012: Ah! I see, totally lost the concept that no one person fits into one narrow box, but that refreshed my mind. =)

          I still think that schools should somehow gear teaching towards a students' learning styles or maybe each student needs some kind of a mentor to push them torwards some amazing dream of theirs.

          For some reason, I always end up wanting to comment about education and the metalities of each teacher, parent, and the student need to somehow link in a positive way, like some kind of support system, but I see those people as lucky and I think those students end up having a better chance of achieving their hopes and dreams. It is all about the higher percentage of a better outcome, so if I can't have the ideal education/life, then I hope the next generation can inherit their ideal education/life with any help I can lend. =)
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    Jul 15 2012: Las clases en el Dep Educacion no están hechas para cada persona en particular..Esa es la diferencia .Cuando yo daba clases siempre pensaba en cada uno de mis estudiantes como una persona con distintas formas de razonamiento .Por eso hay que ofrecerles distintas clases de ocupaciones como barbero, estilista, plomero , ebanista, jardinero, ect. Ocupaciones que no tiene que ir a las universidades. Porque esta clientela no esta de acuerdo con un diploma universitario. quieren algo rápido .que no dure el tiempo que se toma estar en las universidades. La tecnología ha ayudado a que se encamine hacia este campo. Aprender atreves de este medio se les hace mas fácil que en un salón de clases.
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      Jul 16 2012: Sorry Iris, but I didn't completely understand your comment. I'm sure it is just a language barrier, but I'd be willing to translate your comment into english, so if you could, please retype your comment in your native language or rephrase your above comment?

      Thank you.