Just completed the LSA online and am very happy with it. What a lot of mysteries explained!!! I think there will be tonnes of positive changes as a result of the knowledge gained. I will tell everyone who might benefit from it all about it.
Veronica Goldsack, NZ
The year has been a tremendous success. We have just completed a rough report on the work of the year and on pupil performance and the Learning Styles Analysis has had a significant impact on the learning and outcomes. For example, results in core area delivered by the class teacher are the best the school has achieved, behaviour has improved dramatically, attendance is 4% higher and the highest ever recorded in a Y7 class, parents have commented upon behaviour and learning improvements at home etc.
Gareth Buckland, UK
LSA has been a big, first step in that journey to self-understanding and change.
By a happy coincidence, when I accepted this teaching position, I was reading The Power of Diversity. Barbara’s ideas corroborated by own experience of teaching and I thought the on-line analysis might be the kind of hook my new students needed to begin a process of self-discovery. My students had been expelled from mainstream schools as a result of weapons, drugs, assault or truancy. For these young people, school had been a battle ground, a torture chamber or a commercial enterprise - certainly not hallowed or welcoming. I decided to use the LSA profiles as the basis for an entire learning strategies course, geared to guiding each learner to a greater awareness of how they learned in different contexts. I hoped this understanding would enable them to take charge of their own learning, while gaining a greater tolerance for others.
The LSA profile validated what they were afraid to put into words and has been a wonderful tool for externalizing the process of self-examination. Having a hard copy, also helps learners begin to see similarities and differences in their peers and in their teachers. Recognizing a difference is often the first step to understanding and tolerance.
Holly Corman, Canada
As a mother I consider it very important that I can support my different learning styles of my children. I know that it is not easy to support in the big class rooms of 30 students. Nevertheless it would be very helpful, if schools could support the different learning styles.
I have a son, who is a good student and usually gets A’s at school. One year when he was 8-9 years old he tried to get good grades in church history, but just got C, B-. One day he asked me to help him studying for the exam. He was not really interested in the subject, but he wanted to get an A. I know that my son could not understand, why he could not get better grades on this specific subject.
Because of his kinesthetic learning style I asked him to write down the main topics on the paper and after that I promised to look at them and we could discuss about those topics. He wrote for three hours without a pause. I was pleased to notice that he had really picked up the idea of the main topics he had covered most the key ideas. After that we discussed all that on the sofa and I tried to be like a “fellow student” and not at all like an authority or controller, because I have noticed that kinesthetic people dislike authority and controlling. It is also very important to be supportive and give positive feedback. This time he got an A in the exam and was very happy about it. I asked him if this new learning style had helped him and he said ‘yes’. I saw that he was relieved since he now knew that there was no problem in his understanding or thinking. His self-esteem was strengthen by knowing that he was smart enough to get good grades even in this subject. After that he has used this way of learning for those subjects that fit to this approach.
In another case that I came across there was older teacher, close to retirement, who could not understand a boy with kinesthetic preferences. Her teaching was very authoritative and auditory. The boy was hyper-active and disturbing others in class. The teacher removed the child from the class room and he had to go to the corridor time after time. Under these circumstances his learning results were quite poor. There were several meetings with the parents, the teacher and headmaster of the school. The result was that the child was taken out from that class and put into another class. Fortunately there was a younger teacher who understood the learning style of the boy and could adjust her approach accordingly. There were no more behavioural problems and his learning results were greatly improved.
Raija Leskinen, Finland
Learning styles continue to play an important role in our school as 70% of our 115 students are boys. The first step was to look at how they learned and how they liked to learn. This was probably the most exciting step as the children really started to think about the way in which they went about their learning and why some ways were more effective than others. We experimented with group learning, peer learning, teacher directed and individual learning. We changed the room around, removed the teacher's desk, bought in cushions and created learning centres around the room. Our room buzzed and hummed, the children were hooked into learning as each child found the learning style (or combination) which worked best for them. There were many days where I started to feel somewhat superfluous as the children just knew what it was they needed to do and were into it!
As this was a senior class their behaviour and attitude had considerable influence on the rest of the school .....and what an influence! The changes occured not only in the classroom but in the playground as well. The children were excited about their new roles and responsibilities both in and out of the classroom and they willingly undertook many jobs around the school. It was so exciting we were starting to see a change in the culture of the school and the example this first group of students set has continued to be built upon.
Gillian Anton, Australia
In short this is what we do: Each year early in Term One all our senior children Y4-6 undergo a Learning Style Analysis. The results are then shared with the children and parents. We can see where their learning strengths lie and what areas they need to build on. Information regarding learning environment is used to organise classroom areas and activities so that children can choose how and where they work. This choice of having headphones and background music etc. is seen as a privilege and therefore if they don’t complete their work while using headphones for example, they lose the privilege. Some families then transfer this into organising homework areas and times to better match their child’s needs, again “abuse it and lose it” applies. When they move on to High School they will not usually have the option of individualized learning but they can still use this knowledge when studying at home. I am very much of the mind that yes, we do all have unique learning styles but we still have to be able to fit in with what the current educational institutions are providing us, meaning they learn to use their flexibilities.
Bronwyn Fennessy, NZ