ATTUNNING YOUR TEACHING TOWARDS LANGUAGE LEARNING STYLES AND LEARNING STRATEGIES.

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MARA University of TechnologyFaculty of EducationEDU 704- PSYCHO-SOCIOLOGY FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES

Lecturer: P.M. DR. ABU BAKAR HJ IBRAHIM

TERM PAPER:ATTUNNING YOUR TEACHING TOWARDS LANGUAGE LEARNING STYLES AND LEARNING STRATEGIES.

Name: WAN RAIHAN BINTI WAN SHAAIDI ID no: 2010416998 email: one_rayhan07@yahoo.co.uk HP: 012-2437793 Date of Submission: 19th February 2011

ATTUNNING YOUR TEACHING TOWARDS LANGUAGE LEARNING STYLES AND LEARNING STRATEGIES. ABSTRACT1

Students lack of interest in learning English has become a crucial issue in schools nowadays. Due to that administration has put in a great effort to know the resolutions to end this predicament. Thus by knowing what the student preferred learning styles and attuning to learning strategies somehow given a new perspective to teachers to cater to the students need. Keywords: attuning, learning styles, learning strategies

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INTRODUCTION Born as human with various attitudes, characteristics, norms and values have made

human as unique entities that inimitably respond towards surrounding and what more toward learning and teaching styles. Due to that, has derived education institutions to pay a great detail on students learning styles and strategies as to nurture them to be responsible towards their own learning process. Some students prefer to learn by themselves in their own time pace, in familiar surrounding rather than in groups. Students tend to perceive information differently, such as by seeing and hearing, reflective and acting, reasoning logically and intuitively and also analyzing and visualizing (Azlinda, 2006). Thus has clearly portrayed that all students display characteristics of both ends at each dimension, and may move from one extreme to the other depending in the topic, its context, and the particular task demands made on the students (Wong, 2004). The learning styles of the students influence their ability to acquire information and respond to the learning environment (Azlinda, 2006). Students can plan and manage their language learning activities better if they can discover their preferred learning styles. Thus can assist the students in enhancing and take advantage of their natural skills and inclinations. Because of that students motivation will be sustained and thus can process well in language learning process (Azlinda, 2006). What more, when learning styles of the students in a class and teaching styles of the instructor are incompatible, with adverse potential effects, the students may be bored and become inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the course, the2

curriculum and themselves, and in numerous cases change to another program or drop out from school (Felder & Spurlin, 2005). Hence more researchers have taken great interest discovering learning styles and strategies among students. In English as second language classroom, teachers can observe that usually successful learning shows positive attitude towards English (Azlinda, 2006). Furthermore, according to Nunan (1991), one of the characteristic of a good language learner is the ability to reflect on and articulate the processes underlying their own learning. As learning a language is among the most challenging lifelong pursuits to undertake (Almasa, Parilah & Fauziah, 2005). Therefore, teachers should not neglect significance of choosing the appropriate teaching strategies to suite students learning styles, as both teaching strategies and learning styles play a crucial role in language learning process and achievement.

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DEFINITIONS OF LEARNING, LEARNING STYLES AND LEARNING

STRATEGIES Learning according to Kolb (1984), refer to the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. There are numerous of definitions of learning styles being defined and redefined by researchers to suite their purpose of studies. As cited from Lewenfeld (1945), researched visual versus hepatic memory preferences, but the concept of learning style has not been well explored at present. There is perplexity that comes from variation in the scale and scope of learning, school achievement and other behaviour predicted by diverse learning style terms (Nel, 2008). As stated by numerous researchers, the term learning style has different

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meanings for different people. For some, it is congruent with cognitive style, and for others it refers to as preferred approaches to learning based on modality strengths. Stewart and Felicetti (1992) elucidated learning styles as those educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn. In such a way, learning styles are not really concerned with "what" learners learn, but rather "how" they prefer to learn. As for learning strategies stand for conscious steps or behaviour used by language learners to enhance the acquisition, storage, retention, recall and use of new information (Rigney, 1978; Oxford 1990). 1.2 MODEL OF LEARNING STYLES These models of learning styles provide good frameworks for designing assessment instruments. It is difficult to single out learning styles without appropriate assessment instruments. Beaty (1986), has noted that teachers cannot identify students learning styles meticulously without an instrument. In addition, Dunn and Dunn (1998), stated that decisive, valid and comprehensive instrument can diagnose many learning styles traits that influence individuals. Learning style is a multi-dimensional construct, many variables have an impact on each other and produce unique patterns. In this term paper dissertate a few models of learning styles that can be used in determining learning styles of students. 1.2.1 Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learning Styles (VAK) The VAK learning style uses the three main sensory receivers: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic (movement) to determine the dominant learning style. It is sometimes known as VAKT (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, & Tactile). It is based on modalities, a channel by which human expression can take place and is composed of a combination of perception and memory (Clark, 2008).4

VAK is derived from the accelerated learning world and seems to be about the most popular model nowadays due to its simplicity, however, its shortcoming is that the research does not support it. This is probably because it is more of a preference, rather than a style (Clark, 2008). According to Clark learners use all three modalities to receive and learn new information and experiences. Nonetheless, according to the VAK or modality theory, one or two of these receiving styles is normally dominant. This dominant style delineates the best way for a person to learn new information by filtering what is to be learned. This style may not always to be the same for some tasks. The learner may prefer one style of learning for one task, and a combination of others for a different task (Clark, 2008). Clark (2008) also mentioned, classically learning style is enforced via stages. In kindergarten till third grade information is presented kinesthetically, while starting fourth until eight grade information are usually presented visually, while ninth to college and on into the business environment, information is presented to us mostly auditory through the use of lectures. Based on VAK theorists, educators need to present information using all three styles. This allows all learners the opportunity to become involved, no matter what their preferred style may be (Clark, 2008), thus VAK theorists have come up with there main categories as follows: 1. Auditory learners, often talk to themselves. They also may move their lips and read out loud. They may have difficulty with reading and writing tasks. They often do better talking to a classmate or a tape recorder and hearing what has been said.

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2. Visual learners, have two sub-channels - linguistic and spatial. Learners who are visual-linguistic like to learn through written language, such as reading and writing tasks. They remember what has been written down, even if they do not read it more than once. They like to write down directions and pay better attention to lectures if they watch them. Learners who are visual-spatial usually have difficulty with the written language and do better with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials. They easily visualize faces and places by using their imagination and seldom get lost in new surroundings. 3. Kinesthetic learners, do best while touching and moving. It also has two subchannels, there are kinesthetic (movement) and tactile (touch). They tend to lose enthrallment if there is little or no external stimulation or movement. When listening to lectures they may want to take notes for the sake of moving their hands. When reading, they like to scan the material first, and then focus in on the details to get the big picture. They use color highlighters and take notes by drawing pictures, diagrams, or doodling. Kolb's Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Model Kolb learning styles are popularized by Professor David Kolb, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University. Kolb acknowledges that his theory is eclectic, and that its applications are drawn from the work of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Carl Jung, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky (Azlinda, 2006). Kolb learning theory defines the cognitive mechanism of learning and attests the importance of critical reflection in learning. According to Kolb, effective learning incorporate four phrases as listed below:

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Concrete Experience, where the students correspond to knowledge by acquaintance which means direct practical experience (or "Apprehension" in Kolb's terms) (Atherton, 2010). Reflective Observation, in which the students like to watch and observe others and develop surveillances about their own experience. Abstract Conceptualization, where the students create ideas or theories to explain observations (Azlinda, 2006). Active Experimentation, in which students use theories to solve problems and make decisions (Azlinda, 2006). Richmond and Cummings (2005), has looked into application of Kolbs theory to online distance education. The research engrossed undergraduate students in Educational Psychology from University of Nevada-Reno. This research been done via online in which the questionnaire as well as interactive discussion about the matter were done via online chatting box. Here, the researchers wanted to investigate how to adapt Kolbs theory to online instruction, as to accommodate students learning styles is crucial to initiate courses. Thus, to see the effectiveness of learning environment supportive of diverse student learning styles and learning modes may first want to identify the distribution of the four learning styles of students enrolled in the educational psychology course (Richmond & Cummings, 2005). Significant of this research proven that students enjoyment in one class assist the learning process, thus knowing one student learning style will help to attract the student to focus in the lesson.

1.2.2

The Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model The Dunn and Dunn learning style model (1993) bestow a clinical or7

diagnostic teaching framework. The model is designed and planned based on the theory that individual students learn best in different ways. As a consequence, a productive approach to teaching and learning can be carried out to identify the ways (modalities, preferences and styles) in which an individual student learns best. The findings then can be used, to plan instructional procedures and arrange learning situations to accommodate the students learning preferences or styles. The model is based on the assumptions that: 1. 2. It is possible to identify individual student preferences for learning process. It is possible to use a variety of instructional procedures and to modify the instructional environment to match the preferences. As a result the student will improve his or her ability to learn.

The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model has distinguished several main principles or theoretical assumptions. Teachers and administrators must be committed to the following principles: 1. 2. Most individuals can learn. Instructional environment, resources and approaches respond to diversified learning style strengths. 3. 4. 5. Everyone has strengths, but different people have different strengths. Individual instructional preferences exist and can be measured reliably. Given suitable environments, resources and approaches, students will be able to attain statistically higher achievement and attitude test scores in matched, rather than mismatched treatment. 6. 7. Most teachers can learn to use learning styles as a cornerstone of their instruction. Many students can learn to capitalize their learning style strengths when concentrating on new or difficult academic materials.8

Dunn and Dunn (1998), pointed out that for the last few decades, the most manifold used of instruments in experimental research on learning styles is the Dunn and Dunn and Price Learning Style Inventory (LSI) for young students and Productivity and Environment Preference Survey (PEPS) for college students and adults. LSI was developed through content and factor analysis. The inventory was easy to administer and interpret as they used more than one hundred dichotomous items, for example, when I really have a lot of studying to do, I like to work alone. The responses are rated on a five-point likert scale and can be completed in approximately thirty to forty minutes.

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LITERATURE REVIEW Students learning styles and preferences have been of considerable interest in

the administrative and organizational sciences, as well as academic community. For that matter many researchers have conducted numerous delving to investigate students learning styles either in school or institution of higher learning (Azlinda, 2006). Moreover, teacher do not seemed to understand students learning styles, on that account unable to assess students learning styles without administering proper learning styles inventory (Almasa, Parilah & Fauziah, 2005). It has found later (Almasa et al., 2005) that, students learning styles have been ignored and have been considered an insignificant component in language learning process. If students use limited learning styles as their preference, it is more challenging for them to adjust to teachers teaching styles ( Chiya, 2003). Thus, teachers may misinterpret students lack of attention or hyperactivity in class as students bad attitudes due to no proper evaluation about students preferred learning styles. As9

a consequence, the need to assess the learning style of students becomes obvious in order to accommodate different learners (Almasa et al., 2005). Furthermore, most teachers do not teach according to learning styles preferred by students, yet they are teaching based on their own learning styles and teaching styl...

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