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    #1

    Question Learning styles questionnaires - useful or a waste of time?

    I've been teaching ESOL in the UK for four years now, and, during that time, have heard a lot of hype about learning styles questionnaires.

    I searched high and low for one that is suitable for Entry 1 learners but had no luck (does anyone have any suggestions?).

    I did, however, find one to use with my Entry 2 learners (in LOWES R. and TARGET F. (1998) Helping Students to Learn: A Guide to Learner Autonomy London, Richmond Publishing), but found the results to be of limited use to me. After all, aren't we, as teachers, supposed to be using a variety of approaches, catering for all learning styles and encouraging students to process information in a variety of different ways regardless of their individual preferences? What, then, is the use of learning styles questionnaires if we are not actually going to use the results to change our teaching in any way? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how the results could be used constructively?

    Or is the point of these questionnaires more about raising the students' awareness of learning styles rather than how a teacher might use the results?

    What do you think? It will be really interesting to hear other people's opinions on this. Cheers!

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    #2

    Re: Learning styles questionnaires - useful or a waste of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by canalapa View Post
    ... is the point of these questionnaires more about raising the students' awareness of learning styles rather than how a teacher might use the results?
    You've got it, and it's even in the title, Helping Students to Learn: A Guide to Learner Autonomy (London, Richmond Publishing).

    I can send you what I have used in the past. It's not much (about 10 pages), but you're welcome to it. Send me a PM and I'll email you the doc. Generally speaking it should be covered as part of a first lesson although teachers can refer to it throughout acourse as a means of reminding students of their learning responsibilities and shortfalls in their individual progress.

    Here's a bit:
    What is learning to learn?

    Both student and teacher have expectations in the classroom and ideas as to what the prescribed learning process should be. Communication can break down and learning fails when the students training preferences and those of the teacher have not been aligned. Whenever you are training you have information and ideas that you want students to understand and learn effectively and efficiently.

    Students need to be aware of their own natural training preference to expand on the way that they learn, the way in which they think they should be taught and ultimately to accept other ways of learning (not just their preferred or habitual style). They can be stretched beyond their learning preferences and develop a more balanced approach.

    What is the advantage of Learning to Learn for the teacher?

    In addition to establishing learning styles, learning to learn also permits the teacher to draw up a type of unwritten contract with the students the aim being to encourage autonomous learning in which students accept responsibility for their individual performance and motivation level.

    Teachers can establish a certain number of ground rules in the classroom by making students understand that the learning process is a two way street and that it is insufficient for students to simply expect the teacher to ‘feed’ them.

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    #3

    Re: Learning styles questionnaires - useful or a waste of time?

    I've had the same question/ doubts as you over the years, and the solution I've come up with is only to use a learning style questionnaire when it is the best available language practice too, e.g. when practicising adverbs of frequency, language of likes and dislikes, looking for a conversation topic that everyone has interest in, doing a Business English class on HR and job applications

    A good book I've used that is worth using even if it doesn't give you teaching inspiration is "Knowing Me Knowing You" from Delta Publishing.

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