Learning Styles

I got an uncomfortable yet educational lesson in Learning Styles today.

When I was a classroom teacher, I tried to follow the prevailing wisdom of providing the students with several different types of assignments during each class period so that no single activity took more than about 10-15 minutes. I was horrible at it. Yet the students seemed to enjoy those classes more. So I kept trying. I would always come out of those days feeling horribly horribly frazzled. I thought it was because I was not sufficiently organized.

Today, as a student, I experienced the other side of the coin. In my class this evening, the professor moved from activity to activity switching between lecture, small group discussion, whole group discussion, and individual work. By the end of class, I felt raw. I cringed every time he started to introduce a new activity. The material is easy and fascinating for me. But the short time between transitions grated my nerves creating an unpleasant learning environment. Just as I became comfortable and relaxed in the activity, it was time to be done and begin something new.

An informal poll of the students during break and after class showed that they appreciated the varied activities. One student said "I would be bored otherwise".

I believe the same learning style characteristics that made me uncomfortable in class this evening made me uncomfortable teaching in this manner and that no level of organizational improvement would ever make this style flow.

I am glad to be teaching one student where we can negotiate our own pace without external requirements or influences.

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