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Learning styles and multiple
• Quickscan
• What do you already know about
learning styles?
• Have you seen the theory used in
practice or tried to implement it
"an individual's characteristic way of processing information
feeling, and behaving in learning situations" (Smith, as cited
in Merriam and Caffarella, 1991, p. 176).
"the cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve
as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive,
interact with, and respond to the learning environment"
(Keefe, as cited in Swanson, 1995, p. 2).
"the complex manner in which, and conditions under which,
learners most efficiently and most effectively perceive,
process, store, and recall what they are attempting to learn"
(James and Gardner, 1995, p. 20).
• 'As a society, we repeatedly confuse styles with
abilities, resulting in individual differences that are
really due to styles being viewed as due to abilities …
Many of the students we are consigning to the dust
heaps of our classrooms have the abilities to
succeed. It is we, not they, who are failing. We are
failing to recognise the variety of thinking and
learning styles they bring to the classroom, and
teaching them in ways that don't fit them well.'
• (Sternberg, 1997)
• Learning style theorists have developed different
terminology for learning characteristics
• Broad agreement that any group of learners will
encompass at least 4 bands of learning styles.
• There will be some cross over of characteristics, but
learners will have a ‘dominant’ preference
• Learners also bring additional characteristics to the
learning context: existing knowledge, personal skills,
personal motivations, gender,socio-economic status,
Howard Gardner
Honey and Mumford
Examples of learning
• What potential problems might students
encounter using these theories to
analyse their learning?
• How can teachers/lecturers
accommodate different student styles?
Give examples.
• Read article?
Identifying Teaching Styles
• Expert (transmitter of information)
• Formal Authority (sets standards and defines
acceptable ways of doing things)
• Personal Models (teaches by illustration and direct
• Facilitator (guides and directs by asking questions,
exploring options, suggesting alternatives)
• Delegator (develops student ability to function
A.F.Grasha, University of Cincinnati
Dominant teaching styles?
• 38% Cluster 1: Expert/ Formal authority
• 22% Cluster 2: Personal Model/ Expert/
Formal authority
• 17% Cluster 3: Facilitator/ Personal Model/
• 15% Cluster 4: Delegator/Facilitator/Expert
• Try these two for your teaching style
Some advice about different ways of teaching /learning
How do we perceive ourselves as
as learners?
next week
• Use one of the Learning Style inventories to identify
your own current preferred learning style
• Use one of the Teaching Style inventories to identify
your own current preferred teaching style
• What were the outcomes of your inventories? Were
they useful? Accurate?
• What did you think of the process?
• What are the implications for you as a teacher?
• What are the implications for your learners?
• Reflection needs to include critique.
Systematic review/critique
Frank Coffield
Institute of Education
University of London
David Moseley
University of Newcastle
Elaine Hall
University of Newcastle
Kathryn Ecclestone
University of Exeter
• 71 different theories of learning style
• Few based on real research
• Very lucrative - £10 to take test on line
• Very varied
• Very fragmented
• Overlap of styles
• Answers based on mood/context
stage of life?
• Claxton,Guy – Elsin conference
• Elsin Conference
• When we looked at Piaget we considered a
critique of his theories -stages too rigid etc
-- what criticisms are there of learning styles
theory ( in pairs)
You might want to consider:
• The data upon which your style is selected.
• The results -- what are they often like?
• Have you done two learning styles
questionnaires? – are the results the same?
• What action should you take once you have
identified your learning style?
• What action should teachers take if they
have identified a student’s learning style?
• What conclusions do you draw about
learning styles theory?
• Newspaper cutting???
• DA for next week
• Do multiple intelligences questionnaire
Howard Gardner
Multiple Intelligences Theory
• Should you just develop one
intelligence at the expense of others?
• Gardner doesn’t suggest this – he
thinks we are always using several
• Gardner critical of concept of one measure
of intelligence
• Also critical of testing regimes in schools felt students should be given enjoyable
activities through which teachers could
understand their capability
• Gardner wrote lots of interesting things
about education – not just multiple
• Did you ever feel you didn’t really ever
understand a particular topic in school?
• Read Gardner’s account of his daughter
(The Unschooled Mind pg 5)
• Genuine understanding is most likely to
emerge and be apparent to others if people
possess a number of ways of representing
knowledge of a concept or a skill and can
move readily back and forth among these
forms of knowing. (pg 13)
• Concept of master and apprentice – learning
by doing
• Sticks with idea of intelligence - this got
itself a bad name-associated with racism
• Can result in labelling and over simplification
of student’s capacity
• educationalists often prefer concept of
attainment /capability – leaves promise of
further development at any point in life and
avoids labelling
• Gardner, Howard (1983; 1993) Frames of Mind: The
theory of multiple intelligences, New York: Basic Books.
The second edition was published in Britain by Fontana
Press. 466 + xxix pages. (All references in this article
refer to this second, 10th Anniversary, edition). A major
addition to the literature of cognitive psychology being
the first full length explication of multiple intelligences.
• Gardner, Howard (1989) To Open Minds: Chinese clues
to the dilemma of contemporary education, New York:
Basic Books. This book includes a significant amount of
material on Gardner's early life.
• Gardner, H. (1991) The Unschooled Mind: How children
think and how schools should teach, New York: Basic
• Gardner, Howard (1999) Intelligence Reframed. Multiple
intelligences for the 21st century, New York: Basic
Books. 292 + x pages. Useful review of Gardner's theory
and discussion of issues and additions.
• Gardner, Howard (1999) The Disciplined Mind: Beyond
Facts And Standardized Tests, The K-12 Education That
Every Child Deserves, New York: Simon and Schuster
(and New York: Penguin Putnam).
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