Anda di halaman 1dari 5

PART A Read the article: Different strokes for different folks? By Stahi (1999).

Based on the article read write an essay at least 1500 words reflecting on the following: What makes the idea of measuring and teaching to students learning styles so compelling or appealing to educators? What could be the drawback of using learning styles to guide instruction?

1.0 Introduction Learning style refers to the preferred ways in which a student processes information. It also refers to individual differences in how they learn and solve problems. There are many modal of learning styles and a variety implication of learning styles for teaching and learning activities. However, among the most studied learning style are field independent and field dependent. The distinction between field independent and field dependent people is that field dependent people are global whereas field independent people are more analytical. According to Hall, 2000 as cited in Mojtaba Maghsudi, 2007, FI learners have been referred to as analytical, competitive, individualistic, task oriented, internally referent, intrinsically motivated, hypothesis testing, selfstructuring, linear, detail oriented, and visually perceptive whereas FD learners have been referred to as group-oriented, global sensitive to social interactions and criticism, extrinsically motivated, externally referential, not visually perceptive, non-verbal, and passive learners who prefer external information structures . Learning styles has being widely used in the education world. The proponent of learning styles believe that different students are differ consistently in the ways they learn and processing information. They believed that matching ones teaching with that learners preference will improve their learning. Every students are unique and there are a wide range of students learning style and preference present in a classroom. Therefore, there is a need for educators to be aware of individual differences. Educators tend to assess students learning preference to match their approaches used in the classroom in order to enhance students learning. It helps the educators to connect with their learner and enhanced understanding for students. Matching or mismatching students' learning styles with instructional techniques affects learning significantly (Bedford, 2004). Learning was better when material is learned in a way that match the learners strategies.

Learning style is used to meet the needs of the diverse learners in the classroom. Therefore, teachers use variety of approaches to reach all the students preferred styles. However, many researchers claims that there are no strong scientific evidence to show that matching materials to students preferences can improve instruction. They failed to collect reliable data which proves that learning styles increase students learning outcomes. Therefore, it is a myths of learning styles. The opponents also mention some limitation of the learning styles. It becomes a issues discussed by educator and researchers. 2.0 What makes the idea of measuring and teaching to students learning styles so compelling or appealing to educators? 2.1 The studies are weak: The idea of measuring and teaching to students learning styles are so compelling or appealing to educators because the more general claims by proponent are true. Learners are differ from one another. Although learning style is no longer new to educators and the implication of learning style are widely used in teaching and learning approaches, there are no supporting evidence to prove that matching materials to students preferences can improve instruction. This makes the idea of measuring and teaching to students learning styles do compelling to educators. The research being done on the affect of learning styles with students is not complete. Many researchers failed to support the hypothesis that matching students learning styles should match students learning styles. There is no strong scientific evidence to prove that those who have a certain learning style cannot learn by other approaches or different, varied teaching styles. As reviewed by Steven A. Stahl, several researcher include Tarver and Dawson, 1978; Arter and Jenkins, 1979; Kampwirth and Bates, 1980; Kavale and Forness, 1987; and Snider 1992, has come to the conclusion that one cannot reliable measure childrens reading styles and even if one could, matching children to reading programs by learning styles does not improve their learning. Hence, the validity of the learning styles applied to education are still being questioned. Many approaches to matching teaching approaches to learning styles have not been well researched.

2.2 The lacking of reliable inventories:

Many studies supporting learning style theory are not based on reliable study. The test given to assess students learning style and inventories are not always reliable or objective. Reliability of the test is very low as the author cited two learning test which came in .60 and .70. The possibility to make the test reliability low would be the vagueness in the items. Besides, learners might also have different understanding and interpretation based on the survey questions. This might result in some of the lower level skills learner would not understand or would not be able to answer the questions on the survey accurately to determine their style. The other possibility is that learning styles may change over time. It would also change over topic and level of expertise. In addition, the test itself may not be a reliable measure of what it is supposed to measure.

3.0 The drawback of using learning styles to guide instruction. 3.1 The challenge of applying learning styles into classroom Teachers work with different styles of pupils who present different personality, interest, ability and preferences in a classroom. Learning styles theory make sure that all the need of diverse students being met. However, in a real classroom situation, teachers face problem and challenge of catering to each students individual learning style. Students may even have more than one preferred learning style. Teachers feel it is impossible to accommodate every learning style in each lesson. It could be troublesome for a teacher to group the students into their learning styles and facilitate these different groups of students with different instruction in a lesson. Teachers might take times and energy to prepare a multi-instruction lesson to reach all the students preferences styles. In addition, it will not be for teacher to repeat the same topic with different approaches which match all of the students learning styles too. Therefore, teachers could not incorporate all the styles all of the time. Instead, different learning styles only can be incorporated into different parts of the school day.

3.2 Learning styles and ability The other limitation of using learning style to guide instruction is that it does not take into account of learners ability. Learners differ in their background knowledge and it influence

their learning. Learners have preferences about how to learn but they are dependent of both ability and content. It is in vain in teachers attempt to improve pupils learning if the use of learning style does not consider pupils ability or their level of knowledge. Therefore, ones learner preferences may also differs depend on their ability and content. As mentioned by Steven A. Stahl in the article, Rather than different methods being appropriate for different children, we ought to think about different methods being appropriate for children at different stages in their development. He also claims that different methods are appropriate for different goals.

3.3 The difficulties to identify students learning style: Moreover, the drawback of using learning styles to guide instruction is that it is difficult to identify students learning styles accurately. Students learning styles could not be sort exactly into sensory categories. One need not be purely visual, auditory or kinesthetic. A child may be strong in a few of the areas of learning styles or none of the areas. Learning styles may change from time. Furthermore, there is no reliable inventories that used to identify students learning style. As cited in Steve Wheeler, Frank Coffield and his colleagues(2004) reported that the instruments used to determine student learning styles were flawed. They failed to measure accurately what they were purported to measure (validity construct) and they failed to measure learning styles consistently over time (reliability construct). One of the problem emerges when teachers administer a learning styles inventory or questionnaire to their students is that the result tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The learner fail to gain a holistic learning experience, and misses out on the many rich opportunities to expand and develop their other sensory or cognitive skills.

3.4 Learning preferences and learning styles It is undeniable that people do prefer to learn in different ways. However, it is in
lined with the fact that one preference to learn visually or verbally is completely different from whether he or she actually learn better when taught visually or verbally. In short, ones preferences in study cannot be considered as the best way they learn. This is another drawback of the learning style. Learning styles is sometimes, refer to their

preference but it does not mean that learner be able to learn well in that way. There is no test to provide a 100% accurate description of a persons learning style, just a preferences.

4.0 Conclusion As a conclusion, the selection of learning approaches by teachers should not only based on students learning styles but it should also consider students ability and content of knowledge. Students differ in their abilities, interest and background knowledge, but not in their learning styles. Student may have preferences about how to learn, but no evidence suggests that catering to those preferences will lead to better learning. Teachers should take into account the differences in learners abilities. And adjusting a lesson not just to be appropriately pitched at students level of ability but to take into account their background knowledge and interest is surely an important first step in fostering learning.