Thursday, June 28, 2012

Learning Styles and Your Future Career

Your career choice is important. You wouldn’t want to mess up your future by choosing wrong. That's why you must read on.

Every person has his or her unique style of learning: some of us want visual props like photos and diagrams, others prefer listening to a taped lecture, others still will pace up and down the room in order to understand the new material better. Well, we are also poles apart when it comes to the way we work: some of us tackle one task at a time and keep at it until it’s finished, while others prefer working on several things at the same time.

All these different preferences are called your Learning Style. And the thing is, they can be measured by applying a Learning Style Analysis Test from Creative Learning Systems. It’s an online questionnaire and takes about 10 minutes to complete. As soon as you answer the questions, you receive a report with your own personal learning profile.

So how do you use the information contained in the profile? It’s really simple. The profile will make recommendations as to which careers may or may not be suitable for you. For example, if you can’t stand routine, your profile will say something like: “As you love change, and enjoy trying out new things, you hardly ever do the same thing the same way twice. It is important that you take into account your strong need for variety and your love of change when you consider future career planning.”

If you’re a talker who needs people interaction, the profile will guide you as follows: “For your future career planning it is very important to consider jobs which require good communication skills and a lot of people involvement.”

Sometimes the profile will list your preferences and let you decide what to do with the information, without suggesting a specific career path. Let’s imagine that your report says: “You have very strong analytical skills when it comes to problem solving or brain storming, and you always tend to use your rational, left-brain style first. When something is neither logical nor proceeding sequentially, you are not really interested.” The report does not state explicitly that you should seek careers that require strong analytic skills, but that stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Your Learning Style Analysis report will not tell you that you should become a lawyer or try to dissuade you from following your dream to be an actor. What the report will do, however, is list your strengths, your flexibilities and your non-preferences. That knowledge will be priceless when you’re considering the career with which you will begin your adult life. And the pictures in the report are kind of neat, too!

Just imagine... the career you choose now may well be the career you are stuck with for the next 50 years. You may as well go for something you enjoy and are good at, right?

Check out your Learning Style - it’s the cool thing to do.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Discipline Issues and Learning Styles

Attention all teachers! Barbara Prashnig’s book, “Learning Styles in Action”, is a practical guide to implementing learning styles in your daily teaching practice. It does more than help you implement learning styles: it actually helps you solve your stress and discipline issues.

The book is full of scenarios and diverse real-life situations. Among others, “Learning Styles in Action” shows you:

· How learning styles can help underachieving or disruptive students

· Multi-sensory teaching and learning in action

· Ways to integrate learning styles and ICT (computer technology)

· How to create a real learning styles classroom

· The do’s and don’ts of using learning styles.

It’s a sad fact that, despite the many enlightened teachers who are doing amazing work with young people, there are still too many educators and particularly administrators and decision makers who believe learning should not be fun, it isn’t play and it can’t be made to look like play; it’s hard, hard work that cannot be made interesting. With such beliefs it is no wonder that too many students fail in education systems that do not cater for diverse learning needs.

If you want to make sure that your school is not one of those education systems, read this book. You will be amazed, astounded even, how little effort can translate into positive results.

Click here to buy the book.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Analytic? Holistic? Which Learning Style Is Which?

People often ask what the difference is between analytic and holistic learning styles.

Left brain information processing = analytic/logical thinking = sequential processing

Generally, people with a left-brain dominance are sequential thinkers, analytics who like facts, details and logic. They tend to like their work areas neat and organised. They have perfect filing systems, always deal with one project at a time and are deadline-driven. Keeping lists of tasks to do is their favourite hobby, and if they complete something that=s not on their list, they are likely to add it just for the satisfaction of crossing it out. Analytics are the ones who know the price of eggs in the local dairy, hang up the toilet paper so that the straight part touches the wall, roll up the toothpaste tube and replace the cap. An analytic cook follows a recipe step by step, and if she runs out of an ingredient, she drives to the shops to replace it.

Right brain information processing = holistic/global thinking = simultaneous processing

Right-brained people, in contrast, are holistic multi-processors. They aren't interested in the nitty-gritty of issues. Instead, they need to know the overall picture, the reasons behind a project rather than its deadline. Piles of paper gather dust on their desks and office floor, yet they are able to find any document at a moment's notice. Holistics tend to use their intuition or feelings rather than rationalise about a problem. A holistic cook never ever keeps a shopping list, doesn't sticks to recipes and is happy to substitute milo for cocoa powder in her chocolate cake.

That's why some people mistake right-brain dominance for creative talent. But creativity and genius are a marvellous combination of our entire brain and have little to do with the processing hemisphere of our preference.

Are you analytic or holistic? Find out.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Class Size and The Quality Of Learning

It's difficult to compare apples with apples when it comes to learning outcomes. Similarly, it's difficult to predict whether adding an extra student or five to a class is going to lead to decreased academic achievement. Some studies say decreasing class sizes to 16 or fewer gives better results. Some say it's ok to have as many as 40 students per class, provided that:
  • there are enough learning resources (textbooks, study aids, scientific equipment);
  • all 40 students are at a similar academic level;
  • there are no discipline issues.
One thing is certain, though: there is no research that indicates increasing class sizes results in improved learning. Which is why New Zealand is celebrating today: the government abandoned its plans to decrease the national teacher force by two per school. We can keep our class sizes to under 30.

Not all countries are so lucky, however. In many parts of the world, classes of 30 or 40 pupils are the norm. At Creative Learning, we have a free tool called Group Profiles, that helps teachers make sense of the behaviour issues and learning needs of their students.

Of course, even if your class size is only 25... or 15... or even 5, you can still use Group Profiles. They will show you the most effective and efficient ways of teaching your unique group. The changes to your teaching day may be as tiny as installing a dimmer on the classroom light switch, and they may make all the difference between hyperactive and alert students!

Analyse your students' learning style today!