Learning and Teaching Styles

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Learning Styles:
As a variable of individual differences (Dörnyei, 2005), learning styles can initially be defined in a seemingly straightforward and intuitively convincing manner, they refer to “an individual’s natural, habitual, and preferred way(s) of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skills” (Reid, 1995); thus, they are “broad preferences for going about the business of learning” (Ehrman, 1996). Another definition by Kinsella states that “A learning style refers to an individual’s natural, habitual, and preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skills which persist regardless of teaching methods or content area.” Each learner can have one or more learning style and their preferred learning style is a result of a combination of nurture and nature (Reid 1998). This suggests that while some learning styles are innate others can be learned. Many researchers have proclaimed the significance of identifying preferred learning styles for both the teachers and learners. (Ehrman, 1996; Oxford, 2003; Reid, 1995), which may have three dimensions: cognitive, effective and psychological (Keefe, 1987) and involve “perception, cognition, conceptualization, affect and behaviour” (Kinsella, 1995, p. 171). The diversity of learning style definitions has led numerous models and instruments designed to measure and identify students’ learning styles. Some of these are: the Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory (1985), Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (1987), Friedman & Stritter Instructional Preference Questionnaire (1976), Dunn, Dunn & Price (1986) Learning Style Inventory, etc. An analysis of the available literature, also, indicates that there are several ways in which learning styles can be classified. One such classification by Carry (1987) organized the learning styles theories and instruments into three layers and used the onion’s layers analogy to represent the individual’s different levels of learning styles. Curry’s layers...
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