Sandy Forrest. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing Thorofare: Mar/Apr 2004.Vol.35, Iss. 2; pg. 74, 6 pgs The Journal of Continuing Education in NursingMar/Apr 2004The Journal of Continuing Education in NursingMar/Apr 2004
ABSTRACT Background: Learning and teaching are active processes occurring simultaneously on a continual basis. Within this framework, the learner and the teacher are reliant on each other. Understanding the intricacies of this linkage enhances the teacher's effectiveness in enabling learners to achieve their full potential.Method: A review of the literature on teaching and learning styles was completed Conclusion: Learning best occurs when learners are motivated and attend to the important aspects of what is to be learned. Using a wide variety of teaching approaches in the hope of covering most individuals' preferences is expedient but not necessarily effective. The process of exploring the effectiveness of one's teaching styles enhances the ability to facilitate the learning process.
learning refers to a process of progressive change from ignorance to knowledge, from inability to competence, and from indifference to understanding (Fincher, 1994).
we move from novices to experts based on the new knowledge and abilities that we have integrated. Integration involves continuously creating meaning in our we move from novices to experts based on the new knowledge and abilities that we have integrated. Integration involves continuously creating meaning in our experiences and search for significance in our daily actions. In essence, we are constantly learning. experiences and search for significance in our daily actions. In essence, we are constantly learning.
A person appears to learn best when faculty are aware of the relationship between the context, content, and demands of the learning task. This relationship includes an understanding of learning styles, age, behavior, thinking style, gender, content, and learning preferences. A person appears to learn best when faculty are aware of the relationship between the context, content, and demands of the learning task. This relationship includes an understanding of learning styles, age, behavior, thinking style, gender, content, and learning preferences.
Learning Styles Learning styles are reflections of the mind that form an individual's unique learning preference (Kemp, Morrison, & Ross, 1998). It is the way each individual begins to concentrate on, process, internalize, and remember new and difficult information or skills (Dunn & Dunn, 1993). Although individuals can successfully master easy information using a learning style they do not prefer, they will learn more quickly and easily when they are able to capitalize on their preferred learning styles.
Differences in preferred ways of learning or processing information: Field dependence and field independence Field dependence and field independence Reflective and impulsive Reflective and impulsive Kolb inventory Kolb inventory Serialist and holist Serialist and holist Deep and sueface Deep and sueface Lancaster inventory (read article) Lancaster inventory (read article) Hony,learning styls Hony,learning styls Syllabus bound syllabus free Syllabus bound syllabus free Dunn and Dunn four learning style(Quinn 2000) Dunn and Dunn four learning style(Quinn 2000)
Behavior Individuals access study behaviors from a personal repertoire on the basis of the specific learning context in which they find themselves (Fischer & Rose, 2001; Nulty & Barrett, 1996). In this instance, context refers to environmental demands, assessing which approaches will work best, and an evaluation of prior knowledge. When these factors are relatively established, the option of study proficiencies is reasonably encouraging.
However, when learning ability is influenced by transitory environmental demands and short-term objectives, the person resorts to less constructive routines (Applehans & Schmeck, 2002). Thus, less capable learners may feel stressed and rely on literal memorization whereas those who are more proficient effectively approach the task as a problem to be solved by dividing the content into specified elements.
Thinking Style Thinking style refers to a way of using one's intelligence (Dunn & Griggs, 1998). Basically, our thinking style, or how we "use our intelligence," corresponds with the manner in which we are being "challenged" and how we have learned to accomplish the task. Learners who approach these opportunities with confidence will typically work independently with specified guidelines and expectations of academic success. Less confident learners will need support and assistance and may still be unable to
Gender Differences do not vary according to subject or teacher, but do occur based on learning style (Severiens & Dam, 1997). Specifically, women who use memorizing and rehearsing strategies depend on the teacher to organize their learning processes, and define learning as the process of taking in knowledge. Men are ambivalent as to why they are studying and often lack parameters or guidelines. Androgynous learners-individuals with both masculine and feminine behavior and attributes-use a meaning-directed learning style.
Androgynous learning is indicative of people who believe that they learn independently, are personally interested in the subject, and are learning to construct knowledge. This approach to learning is desirable. An application-directed or "prove yourself" learning style is characteristic of individuals with feminine characteristics. Specifically, they use the knowledge they obtain, expect to be stimulated by education, and have an interest in learning because of the possibilities it creates in terms of practicing a vocation.
Content Although humans appreciate the common and the familiar, and often resist change, the brain seeks and reacts to innovative occurrences (Angelo, 1991). In fact, rote learning (e.g., memorizing terminology) is frustrating because the brain resists meaningless stimuli. Invoking the brain's natural capacity to integrate information allows us to assimilate boundless amounts of information.
Learning Preferences Learning preferences relates to a fondness for methods individuals believe enhance their learning proficiency (Grasha, 1990). For example, with complex content, learners want clear structure and goals, material presented in an exciting manner, assistance with assimilating divergent and contradictory data, and to be personally challenged. For less challenging material, people like the pace of instruction increased, information made more challenging, assurance they are processing the content, and small group exercises to review concepts.
Just what is it that teachers do? Ask ten teachers, "What does it mean to teach?" and you will get a variety of puzzled looks and an assortment of answers. Although general themes will arise, the exact nature of the action, what teachers do and do not do, is at the center of ongoing dialogue. According to the Random House Dictionary, to teach refers to "any practice that furnishes a person with skill or knowledge" (2002, p. 1342).
a teacher seeks further knowledge and training to expand on and become proficient with a variety of teaching styles (Kaplan & Kies, 1995)
Teaching is an art, a craft, and a profession (Morgan-Fleming, 2000
1. Each teacher and learner is unique. 2. The classroom is transformed into a community in which learners and teachers can contribute fully. 3. An artist strives for but never reaches perfection. The difference is not a matter of form, but of talent and quality. 4. Autonomy and individuality are crucial to the artist. 5. "The teacher is more similar to a conductor than a soloist, more like a director than an actor giving a soliloquy" (Morgan-Fleming, 2000, pp. 161-162). Viewing this last end product as a challenge instead of a fear or frustration calls for an openness for reflection and self-critique.
As artists, teachers of adult learners often encourage them to go beyond the limits of their capabilities (Firmin, 1998).
For the teacher, this involves believing in learners, viewing them through the lens of time, being genuine with them, taking time during teachable moments, and knowing that you cannot inspire everyone to greatness (Palmer, 1998).
When applying these principles, the essence of the teaching-learning process includes recognizing and living your truth, creating moments of possibility, engaging the familiar and moving with new possibilities, maintaining an attitude of concern and solicitude toward others, and recognizing that there is much that we do not know (Bunkers, 1999).
Skillful teachers do not rely on a specific technique or a style. Rather, over time unanimity develops between the teacher and the learner. The foundation for this affiliation is a teacher's uniqueness, humor, perseverance, passion, and ability to indulge the person's desires. To this end, a teacher uses interpersonal skills, a concern for and interest in others, and a commitment and willingness to search for and bring out another's strengths.
Although allowance is made for learner behaviors, it is a teacher's character or personality that influences an individual's perceived needs and the content or skill being taught. "Teaching is a revelation of the self more than it is the use of learned postures, it is the stamp of authenticity more than it is the show of authority, it is the element of trust..." (Gayle, 1994, p. 4).
Teachers and learners act, to varying degrees, on their environments. Neither teachers nor learners simply react to the other. Rather, the tasks involved in a person's learning reflect the teacher's preferences or viability. Further, maintaining a focus on teaching style ensures appropriate emphasis on the person and preserves the distinctiveness of the teacher as a separate but responsible agent (Grasha, 1994).
Within this framework, teaching style refers to (1) one's behaviors and the media used to transmit information to or receive it from the learner (Kaplan & Kies, 1995) and (2) a systemic structure of complex, stable behaviors, some of which may be atypical (Gayle, 1994).
STAFF DEVELOPMENT There has been much research regarding teaching effectiveness and learning outcomes in clinical settings. The educational needs of nursing staff to assist in providing continuity in care include (in order of priority): information technology, awareness of roles, communications within seamless care, working across boundaries, professional issues, practice-related issues, and delivery of patient or client issues (Werrett, Helm, & Carnwell, 2001).
It is suggested that these needs can be met in an environment that incorporates problem-based and self- directed learning (Williams, 2001). Teaching strategies specific to assisting nurses participating in continuing education are described in Table 3 (Oberleitner, Ferrell, Grant, Borneman, Juarez, & Virani, 2002). It is suggested that these needs can be met in an environment that incorporates problem-based and self- directed learning (Williams, 2001). Teaching strategies specific to assisting nurses participating in continuing education are described in Table 3 (Oberleitner, Ferrell, Grant, Borneman, Juarez, & Virani, 2002).
EVALUATING YOUR TEACHING AND LEARNING STYLES Feedback enables faculty to design teaching plans that will help people achieve their highest level of learning. For the individual, an awareness of a preferred learning style can allow for a more efficient and effective learning experience-and perhaps an enjoyable one as well. The following list provides a variety of inventories for teachers and learners to complete:
* Learning Styles Inventory (LSI): The LSI is an instructional model preference approach, based on hierarchy of needs and achievement motivation. To complete the inventory, go to www.tecweb.org.
* VARK: The VARK looks at kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information. To complete the questionnaire, go to www. vark- learn.com.
* Student Learning Style Inventory: This inventory suggests that a person's attitude or readiness to learn is determined by a preference for extraversion (focus on the external world), introversion (focus on the internal world), perceiving (strong attraction to sensing and intuition), and judging (strong attraction to thinking and feeling). To complete the index, go to www.calstatela.edu/ faculty/jshindl/plsi.
* Index of Learning Styles: This index assesses preferences related to specific dimensions. To complete the index, go to www.engr.ncsu.edu/learning styles/ilsweb.html. * Student Learning Style Scales: This tool identifies specific styles that learners have for interacting with peers and the teacher. To complete the assessment, go to www.ltseries.com/LTS/sitepgs / GRSLSS/ls_invent.htm.
* Teaching Goals Inventory: This inventory looks at teaching goals as they relate to learner expectations. To complete the inventory, go to www. uiowa.edu/~centeach/tgi. * Teaching Style Inventory: This inventory examines teaching philosophy, methods, teaching environment, evaluation techniques, and personal characteristics. To complete the inventory, go to www. ldrc.ca/projects/projects.php?id=26.
* The Triads Personality Indicator: This indicator explores the basic patterns of behavior that make you who you are, explains why you do what you do, and demonstrates how you do it. To complete the indicator, go to www.enneagramcentral.com/ testc_a0.htm.
* Teaching Perspectives Inventory: Perspectives differ from teaching styles in that they are more basic and incisive. Developing an understanding of teaching perspectives provides a path for critical reflection on and articulation of one's beliefs about learning, knowledge, and the social role of the teacher (Pratt & Collins, 2001). This understanding offers a method of examining the underlying values and assumptions that constitute teachers' beliefs about their role. To complete the inventory, go to www.teachingperspectives.com/html/tpijTames. htm.
SELF-REFLECTION Take time to reflect on the effectiveness of your teaching styles. The primary skills that you want to perfect include organizational abilities, presentation, management, analysis, and synthesis of material, and assessment and evaluation of student learning. Table 4 describes activities to assist in reflecting on your teaching abilities (University of Waterloo, 2001).
CONCLUSION Regardless of the content, individuals have unique preferences relative to how they approach this learning process-their learning style. For successful learning to occur, the ultimate responsibility lies in the teacher's skill and judgment after getting to know the learner. This includes an assessment of learning styles, which ultimately assists teachers in identifying an individual's strengths that might go unnoticed. Altering teaching strategies and techniques based on information about the variety of learning styles of the learners will help maximize each person's potential.
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