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1. Learning Styles in the Philippines

Wallace, James, Education

Is there a distinctive learning style that characterizes middle school students of the Philippines, an archipelago
of some 7000 islands in Southeast Asia? This study sought to find out.

The Learning Style Inventory (LSI) of Dunn, Dunn, and Price (1992) was administered to 450 sixth and seventh
grade students in one urban and two rural schools. The LSI is a self-report instrument which analyzes the
conditions under which students in grades 3 to 12 prefer to learn. It uses dichotomous items such as "I study
best when it is quiet," and "I can ignore sound when I study" (Dunn, 1987).

Of the 22 elements of learning style assessed by the LSI, Filipino students were found to have preferences for
eight. They prefer quiet rather than music or other sound when studying. They need bright light to concentrate
or they may become drowsy and can't think well. Filipino students prefer cool temperatures and believe they do
not perform as well when they are warm. They enjoy sitting in wooden, steel, or plastic chairs (formal design)
and can work in them for long periods of time.

Often students who think better in quiet than with sound, who need bright rather than dim light, and who
concentrate better in formal seating than on a soft chair or sofa tend to be sequential and persistent learners:
They move from the beginning of a task to the end in a series of discrete stages (Dunn & Milgram, 1993). In
addition, sequential and persistent learners prefer to work on only one thing at a time. Once they begin
something, they stay with it until it is completed.

Strangely, Filipino students tend not to be persistent. They take frequent breaks while studying and often prefer
to work on several tasks simultaneously. They begin something, stay with it for a while, stop and do something
else, and later return to the earlier assignment.

Filipino students appear to learn best in the early morning. They are most alert, most easily attentive, and best
behaved at that time.

Filipino students are visual and kinesthetic learners. They prefer to process information by seeing it. They like
to receive information from pictures, graphs, diagrams, and visual media. As kinesthetic learners, Filipino
students learn well through whole body involvement and direct experience. They want to be as active as they
can. Role play, field trips, grouping together with fellow students to form the letters of the alphabet with their
bodies, and becoming physically involved in the thoughts expressed in poetry are examples of activities that
help them learn. Filipino students, least preferred perceptual modality is auditory.

2 This, in effect, is the message that Perri Cebedo has been trying to spread to Filipino teachers, students
and parents for several years now through his Maximizing Academic Performance (MAP) program.
Cebedo, a former Ateneo Grade School (AGS) teacher, said Philippine education could not be improved
unless students were taught how to learn. “It has been found that [learning] is not a question of IQ or
school or home environment but whether or not a student has learned the smarts and skills to study more
in less time with higher knowledge retention.”
Cebedo noted that many Filipino students were passive. “They do not want to talk or participate in class,”
he said. They did not even want eye contact. Children had to be pulled out of that passive learning style
and coaxed out of their shells.
Although students had access to the Internet, they did not really know the value of materials there. And
they could not rely on their mentors for guidance because teachers were less technology savvy, Cebedo
said. Teachers did not even know how to use PowerPoint.
By: Linda B. Bolido - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:01 AM March 29, 2016
Read more:
Understanding Learning StylesMay 31, 2013
The first distinctive feature and guiding principle of the Philippines' DepEd K to 12 basic education program is its
emphasis on the learner:

"The learner is the very reason of the entire curriculum system. Who the learner is in his/her totality, how
he/she learns and develops and what his/her needs are were highly considered in the making of the K to 12
curriculum framework.The holistic learning and development of the learner is its primary focus. A teacher
creates a conducive atmosphere where the learner enjoys learning, takes part in meaningful learning
experiences and experiences success because he/she is respected, accepted and feels safe even if in
his/her learning exploration he/she commits mistakes. He/she learns at his/her own pace in his/her own
learning style. He/she is empowered to make choices and to become responsible for his/her own learning in
the classroom and for a lifetime." (The K to 12 Basic Education Program, March 12, 2012)

The acronym VARK stands for Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning
information. Fleming and Mills (1992) suggested four modalities that seemed to reflect the experiences of the students
and teachers. Although there is some overlap between them they are defined as follows. [For a detailed description of the
initial construction and limitations of VARK, and for other works on learning styles, see the bibliography and the seminal

Remember life (and work) are multimodal so there are no hard and fast boundaries.

Visual (V):
This preference includes the depiction of information in maps, spider diagrams, charts, graphs, flow charts, labelled
diagrams, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and other devices, that people use to represent what could have
been presented in words. This mode could have been called Graphic (G) as that better explains what it covers. It does NOT
include still pictures or photographs of reality, movies, videos or PowerPoint. It does include designs, whitespace,
patterns, shapes and the different formats that are used to highlight and convey information. When a whiteboard is used
to draw a diagram with meaningful symbols for the relationship between different things that will be helpful for those
with a Visual preference. It must be more than mere words in boxes that would be helpful to those who have a Read/write

Aural / Auditory (A):

This perceptual mode describes a preference for information that is “heard or spoken.” Learners who have this as their
main preference report that they learn best from lectures, group discussion, radio, email, using mobile phones, speaking,
web-chat and talking things through. Email is included here because; although it is text and could be included in the
Read/write category (below), it is often written in chat-style with abbreviations, colloquial terms, slang and non-formal
language. The Aural preference includes talking out loud as well as talking to oneself. Often people with this preference
want to sort things out by speaking first, rather than sorting out their ideas and then speaking. They may say again what
has already been said, or ask an obvious and previously answered question. They have need to say it themselves and they
learn through saying it – their way.

Read/write (R):
This preference is for information displayed as words. Not surprisingly, many teachers and students have a strong
preference for this mode. Being able to write well and read widely are attributes sought by employers of graduates. This
preference emphasizes text-based input and output – reading and writing in all its forms but especially manuals, reports,
essays and assignments. People who prefer this modality are often addicted to PowerPoint, the Internet, lists, diaries,
dictionaries, thesauri, quotations and words, words, words… Note that most PowerPoint presentations and the Internet,
GOOGLE and Wikipedia are essentially suited to those with this preference as there is seldom an auditory channel or a
presentation that uses Visual symbols.

Kinesthetic (K):
By definition, this modality refers to the “perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practice (simulated or
real).” Although such an experience may invoke other modalities, the key is that people who prefer this mode are
connected to reality, “either through concrete personal experiences, examples, practice or simulation” [See Fleming &
Mills, 1992, pp. 140-141]. It includes demonstrations, simulations, videos and movies of “real” things, as well as case
studies, practice and applications. The key is the reality or concrete nature of the example. If it can be grasped, held, tasted,
or felt it will probably be included. People with this as a strong preference learn from the experience of doing something
and they value their own background of experiences and less so, the experiences of others. It is possible to write or speak
Kinesthetically if the topic is strongly based in reality. An assignment that requires the details of who will do what and
when, is suited to those with this preference, as is a case study or a working example of what is intended or proposed.
Life is multimodal. There are seldom instances where one mode is used, or is sufficient, so that is why there
is a four-part VARK profile. That is why the VARK questionnaire provides four scores and also why there are
mixtures of those four modes. Those who do not have a standout mode with one preference score well
above other scores, are defined as multimodal.

They are of two types. There are those who are flexible in their communication preferences and who switch
from mode to mode depending on what they are working with. They are context specific. They choose a
single mode to suit the occasion or situation. If they have to deal with legalities they will apply their
Read/write preference. If they are to watch the demonstration of a technique they will be expressing their
Kinesthetic preference. They are described as VARK Type One? in our database and they may have two,
three or four almost-equal preferences in their VARK scores. There are others who are not satisfied until
they have had input (or output) in all of their preferred modes. They take longer to gather information from
each mode and, as a result, they often have a deeper and broader understanding. They may be seen as
procrastinators or slow-deliverers but some may be merely gathering all the information before acting – and
their decision making and learning may be better because of that breadth of understanding. They are
described as VARK Type Two in our database.

ting for individual learning styles in not a new idea. As early as 334 BC, Aristotle said that “each child possessed specific talents
and skills” and he noticed individual differences in young children.

In the early 1900’s, several personality theories and classifications for individual differences were advanced; these focused
especially on the relationship between memory and visual or oral instructional methods. The research in learning styles then
declined due to the emphasis on the student’s IQ and academic achievement.

In the last half of the 1900’s, however, there has been a renewed interest in learning styles research and many educators are
attempting to apply the results within the classroom.

Definition of Learning Styles

You have probably noticed that when you try to learn something new you prefer to learn by listening to someone talk to you about
the information. Or perhaps you prefer to read about a concept to learn it, or maybe see a demonstration.

Learning styles can be defined, classified, and identified in many different way. Generally, they are overall patterns that provide
direction to learning and teaching. Learning style can also be described as a set of factors, behaviors, and attitudes that facilitate
learning for an individual in a given situation.

Styles influence how students learn, how teachers teach, and how the two interact. Each person is born with certain tendencies
toward particular styles, but these biological or inherited characteristics are influenced by culture, personal experiences, maturity
level, and development. Style can be considered a “contextual” variable or construct because what the learner brings to the
learning experience is as much a part of the context as are the important features of the experience itself.

Each learner has distinct and consistent preferred ways of perception, organization and retention. These learning styles are
characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological behaviors that serve as pretty good indicators of how learners perceive,
interact with, and respond to the learning environment.

Students learn differently from each other and it has been determined that brain structure influences language structure
acquisition. It has also been shown that different hemispheres of the brain contain different perception avenues. Some
researchers claim that several types of cells present in some brains are not present in others.

Changes in Learning Styles During Childhood

A child's brain is continually developing. The strengths and weaknesses a child shows when he's five may be quite different than
his strengths and weaknesses when he's 10 or 15. The way children learn also changes over time. As a child grows and matures
his or her brain grows, develops and matures.

One result of this growth and development can be that a child will appear to have a strength at one time, but if tested three or four
years later that same skill may be judged a weakness. The reasons are complex, but the important thing to know is that a child's
strengths and weaknesses aren't carved in stone. As time passes the way a child learns best may change significantly.

Learning and the Senses

Effective teaching usually combines several approaches, or multi-sensory instruction, so the child uses more than one sense at a
time while learning. Multi-sensory approaches work well because of the way our brain is organized. When we learn, information
takes one path into our brain when we use our eyes, another when we use our ears, and a yet a third when we use our hands. By
using more than one sense we bombard our brain with the new information in multiple ways. As a result we learn
better. Rief (1993) says that students retain:
 10% of what they read
 20% of what they hear
 30% of what they see
 50% of what they see and hear
 70% of what they say
 90% of what they say and do