Thursday, December 16, 2010

Secrets of successful teaching: flexibility and matching styles

(excerpt from "The Power of Diversity" by Barbara Prashnig)

1. Matching students’ learning styles with the appropriate teaching styles will always lead to successful interaction between teachers and their students, and result in improved learning outcomes as we have seen in this chapter.

2. High flexibility for achieving genuine style matches is maybe more important, and teachers need to be confident in choosing their methods and strategies, and must be prepared to try something else when the usual methods don’t work. This ‘something else’ should not be trial and error, but based on a sound knowledge of students’ learning style needs. But isn’t that what teachers are supposed to do anyway, you might ask. Supposed maybe, but very few teachers are actually flexible enough to change their methods according to their students’ learning needs because most teachers have a very limited repertoire of teaching methods - remember, they have all been trained by the same analytical system - and when the few well-known strategies don’t work, they are soon at their wits’ end, blaming everyone and everything else for their students’ failure and finally give up on them.

Another reason for this unfortunate situation is the fact (again based on research findings and our own

experiences in data collection) that teachers are among the least flexible people of all professional groups. The majority have very strong preferences based on analytic, left-brain dominance, paired with very strong beliefs about what’s right and wrong in learning. They find it very hard to flex and adjust, prefer to stay with what they know, even when this knowledge is outdated, and generally resist change.

(...) It is quite obvious that educators need to become more flexible, and teachers who are now working

with learning styles realise that it is they who have to be the most flexible person in class. Highly flexible people usually get on well with others and you probably remember one or the other teacher who was well-liked by everyone, who always found a way to get on with others and were a great inspiration for the young ones.

(Purchase link: "The Power of Diversity" by Barbara Prashnig)


Danielle said...

Very useful article! Use learning styles to create powerful training that sticks
train the trainer

Danielle said...

very interesting points. adding you to my follows