Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reconsidering my Learning Styles

To plan a class implies a solid knowledge about our learners, in other words, to make sure that the learning process is meaningful, we, teachers need to be acquainted with a variety of factors. Results from research on EFL clearly call for considering learning styles and strategies in the teaching process as the starting point to have a successful learning. Learning styles and strategies are defined as “the main factors that help determine how-and how well- our students learn…” (Oxford, 2003, p.1). Under this framework, and considering that currently we are witnessing a new emphasis on instructional environments, teaching with ICT, especially teaching language in virtual words, demands even more a learner-centered approach.

During the Second Life (SL) class, I recapped most of the issues stated above. That experience of being a student in a virtual world caused me to reexamine my beliefs about learning styles and strategies. According to several tests my predominant learning style is visual because many of the characteristics conveyed by this style fit into the way I learn. However, it seems contradictory that my spatial memory does not work efficiently. It is pretty hard for me to store information about the environment around me, that is the main reason why when playing computer games I make a big effort to locate myself in time and space. Not only does playing computer games but this can also happen to me in real life when following directions. In this sense, I think that using an avatar was a wonderful experience but there were several times that I got lost, no matter if I followed the map. Then, an important question cropped up: is this tool suitable for people whose spatial memory is not developed?
At that stage, firstly, I thought of how frustrating this task may be for non-visual learners and for those people whose spatial memory is not a strength. Secondly, we, teachers should not take for granted that we teach homogeneous classes. In fact, sometimes I think in that way. As an EFL teacher, If I dare to design a class under SL, I strongly believe that I should consider whether my students are predominantly visual or not. On the contrary, this experience would be simply too overwhelming.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Albis, I agree with you in the sense that our learning styles determine the success or failure of an activity. I also agree with you in the sense that considering the learning styles is of paramount importance, nevertheless, it is not always possible to offer activities for all styles, what I think we teachers should do is to give the participants enough time to go through the process and guide them with enough patience so they do not get frustrated. Thank you for sharing your insights and nice artifacts with us, Nairuby