Learning styles – nonsense!

I have just learned what I intuitively always felt to be true. Learning styles in people are not relevant. People may think they are auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic learners, but I have always felt that it is the material that determines what the best medium is to get the information across.

When I teach skiing, it’s kinaesthetic. When it’s a theoretical mathematical concept, it’s visual. When it’s musical interpretation, it’s auditory.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

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Instructional Process/Strategies – A toolkit for teaching adults

This toolkit for teaching adults is a good summary of the basics of adult education. The Methods of Instruction Summary on page 7 refers specifically to Instructional Strategies and is a good reference if I wish to brainstorm about what tool I want to use to plan my lesson. Not only does it list the types of methods, but also in what scenarios they are useful. On page 11 is an even better table of delivery methods with a description of each, their advantages and disadvantages.  This document will definitely be a regular reference for me as I’m planning.

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Motivational Techniques

This document is a nice, simply worded summary on motivating the adult learner. A good reminder is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, which a lot of my students struggle with. I also like the learner centered training approach, where teaching is more a dialogue and I try to incorporate the student’s life experience as much as possible. I think something I will have to ask in the future is “What are you hoping to get out of this course?”, and that will tell me much about their motivation.

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Creating a positive learning environment

This document is a wealth of knowledge for creating a positive learning environment, especially the ten tips for creating a positive learning environment on Page 5. This document reminded me that I need to slow down at the beginning of a semester and get to know the students, their abilities and let them get to know me. If I can break down the authoritative stigma that naturally surrounds me as a teacher, they will be much more comfortable making mistakes, getting into discussions and engaging in a meaningful way.