There is a brilliant child locked inside every student
-- Marva Collins
'No one else processes information in exactly the same way you do. If you discover
how you process information best, you learn things both more efficiently and in less
time. By applying strategies that address your learning style, you can study faster
and better.' "Practicing College Learning Strategies" , p. 154, Carolyn H. Hooper
Would you rather play 'Pictionary,' (visual), 'Taboo,' (auditory) or 'Gestures,' (kinesthetic)?
If a fire breaks out in the room, what is your immediate first reaction? 1. You quickly
size up the situation, looking for exits, others in need, etc. (visual). 2. You start
yelling "Fire!" giving directions or screaming (auditory). 3. You start running for
an exit (kinesthetic). You may do all three, but one will be an instinctual first
reaction. That is your learning style.
There are many tests to determine your learning style.
Visit http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html. This website, developed by Barbara Solomon and Richard Felder of North Carolina
State, is a questionnaire of 44 questions that will help you determine what type of
learning style you may lean towards. Please fill out the questionnaire and then read
what it says about your learning style, and whether you may be an active or reflective
learner, a sequential or global learner.
VARK Questionnaire: vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionaire/ This website is a series of questions to help you determine if your learning style
is visual, aural, reading or kinesthetic.
Visual learners require seeing. You form pictures and see words spelled, problems
worked, or situations happening in your mind. You would rather play Pictionary, rather
than Gestures or Taboo. When you understand something you will say 'I see,' and you
do 'see it' in your mind. You want to see the words written down, a picture of something
being described, a time line to remember events in history, or the assignment written
on the board.
Helpful Hints for Improving Visual Input:
- Sit in the front of the class or meeting so you can see everything.
- Develop skill at note taking to change verbal input into visual input.
- Sketch course content. Even the simplest sketch can help you remember ideas.
- List your tasks - even the ones you have completed - just to have the satisfaction
of visually crossing out tasks done.
- Use notes on your favorite colored stickies to help you remember.
- Evaluate the appearance of your study environment. Make it look conducive to learning.
A well-placed poster or an uncluttered desk may help in clearing your mind to be able
to study better.
- Write yourself encouraging notes and post them where you can see them.
- Picture yourself succeeding - visualize that 'A' on an assignment, test, or project.
Auditory learners rely on hearing. You listen to messages in your mind. You can repeat
conversations or verbal input word for word. You often know all the words to songs.
Radios, iPods, etc. play an important role in your life. You may say, 'I hear you'
or 'Sounds good' when you understand. You will also prefer to play 'Taboo' rather
than 'Pictionary' or 'Gestures.'
Helpful Hints for Improving Auditory Input:
- Choose the best classroom location for listening. Usually this is in the golden triangle
of the class room (see illustration).
- Tape record the class session and listen to your tape.
- Ask questions in class and listen carefully to the replies.
- Read the textbook and notes aloud to yourself as you study.
- Record your textbook or class notes.
- Teach yourself to read aloud in your mind without making sound. During exams, you
can hear the test questions as well as see them.
- Study with others. Talk about the course material.
- Tell others, or your pets live or stuffed, what you are learning in class. Mentally
replay these conversations during an exam.
- When you study, choose auditory input in the background carefully.
- Speak positively to yourself during your work.
- Proofread your assignments out loud.
- You may want to try setting a long or difficult idea to music.
Kinesthetic learners need to move around and work manually with ideas. You touch things
a lot. Smells and textures are important. You sometimes have difficulty sitting still
in class just listening. The more activity you experience while doing a skill, the
better you learn it. The more skin and muscles you use, the better you remember. Even
small motions that seem unrelated to the activity such as swing a leg, drawing, or
knitting help you understand ideas. You also enjoy playing 'Gestures' rather than
'Pictionary' or 'Taboo.' You learn best by doing or experiencing something. The more
senses you can involve in learning, the better you will remember it.
Helpful Hints for Improving Kinesthetic Input:
- Sit where you can actively participate in classroom events.
- Sit where you can move as needed without disturbing others.
- Draw pictures in class of the material being taught.
- Take notes creatively.
- Ask and answer questions.
- Make models of the concepts whenever possible.
- As you study, move around.
- Walk and talk to yourself about material. Each lap you make, try moving at a different
speed or style like skipping, sliding sideways, walking backwards, etc. Also include
different voices. Sing, etc.
- Work on a chalk or whiteboard when you can.
- Incorporate pictures of models, if possible.
- Pat yourself on the back - physically - when you do well.
- Make sure your pen and writing materials please you.
- Make physical comfort a priority as you study.
- Make note cards, sample tests.
Harvard Professor Howard Gardner measures intelligence in eight areas. These probably
measure your smarts ability better than an I.Q. test. Read the description of each
intelligence. As you read, consider how you would rate your skill in that area: Weak,
moderate, or strong. Shade the line from 1 to the number that you assess yourself
for each intelligence.
- Bodily - Kinesthetic Intelligence is the ability to use the whole body or parts of
it to develop products and solve problems: Athletes, dancers, construction workers,
actors, physical laborers, and surgeons have strong bodily - kinesthetic intelligence.
(Famous examples: Jose Canseco, Roberto Clemente, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Michael
Jordan, Mark McGwire, Shaquille O'Neal, Julia Roberts, Tiger Woods)
- Interpersonal Intelligence is the ability to understand motivations and inner workings
of other people and to work cooperatively with them. Teachers, mediators, negotiators,
politicians, leaders, salespeople, and psychotherapists are good at this intelligence.
(Famous examples: Cesar Chavez, Henry Cisneros, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi, John F.
Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Gold Meir, Ronald Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother
- Intrapersonal Intelligence is the ability in knowing and understanding one's own inner
mental processes reflecting on thought, dreams, spiritual life, and motivations. Philosophers,
authors, artists, psychotherapists, and many solitary individuals in all vocations
have this intelligence. (Famous examples: Teilhard de Chardin, Milton Ehrichson, Karen
Horney, Carl Jung, Thomas Merton, Claude Monet)
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence is the ability to think mathematically and logically,
as well as to analyze and reason scientifically. Accountants, inventors, or repairment,
teachers, and engineers all put information together symbolically or practically using
this type of intelligence. (Famous examples: Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein,
Lise Meitner, Isaac Newton, Emmy Noether, Chien-Shiung Wu)
- Musical Intelligence is the ability in interpreting, performing, and composing music
using melody, rhythm, and harmony. Composers, conductors, jazz musicians, music teachers,
rappers, and cheerleaders exercise this ability as they create or use music in their
work. (Famous examples: The Beatles, Leonard Bernstein, Julio Iglesias, Beethoven,
Mozart, Tito Puente, Linda Ronstadt, Poncho Sanchez, Barbara Streisand, Ritchie Valens,
Irving Berlin, Ira and George Gershwin)
- Naturalist Intelligence is the ability to see patterns and relationships in the natural
world, classifying and discovering order. Scientists, biologists, botanists, and environmentalists
exemplify this intelligence. (Famous examples: Rachel Carson, Jacques Cousteau, Charles
Darwin, Albert Einstein, Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock, Maria Mitchell)
- Spatial Intelligence is the ability to form an abstract model of the three dimensional
world and then solve problems using that model. People who do this well include astronauts,
sailors, muralists, engineers, architects, surgeons, sculptors, and painters. (Famous
examples: Judith Baca, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Leonardo da Vinci, Sam Maloof, Michelangelo,
Ellen Ochoa, Auguste Rodin, Helen Rodriguez, Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Wright,
- Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence is the ability with words in writing, story telling,
discussing, interpreting, and talking. Poets, writers, lawyers, talk show hosts, teachers,
secretaries, and editors who form thoughts and use words skillfully in their work
are example of people strong in this intelligence. (Famous examples: Julia Alvarez,
Maya Angelou, Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, Alex Haley, Edward Rivera, Oprah Winfrey)
Write down your top three intelligences:
How to Use Your Smarts
- If you are strong in Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence, you should find movement in
studying. Memory is triggered by location, so moving helps you learn and remember
new concepts. This intelligence will help you as you lay out or act out problems physically
using your muscles and movements. Try moving around randomly as you think over, discuss,
and work on math problems, plan essays, or figure out assignments. Working on a large
chalk or whiteboard will also help. Walking a large figure-eight shape as you go over
notes, work out problems, study for tests will help you remember the content, because
this movement changes your state of mind thus involving more functions in your brain.
- If your Interpersonal Intelligence is strong, you do well organizing study groups
and facilitating others, working together to discuss problems, assignments, or study
for tests. Taking a leadership role, you will feel more comfortable and find that
you will learn more. The teacher always learns the most. You may wish to volunteer
to tutor students.
- Strong Intrapersonal Intelligence means you may enjoy contemplating subjects on your
own at least part of the time. If you are studying math, systems of thought and systems
of social organization can be described in mathematical terms. Use your own thought
processes to make notes, draw mind maps, anything that may help you remember the concepts
you need to know.
- If you are strong in Musical Intelligence, you may find the mathematical descriptions
of what happens in music very fascinating and revealing. Putting formulas or important
bits of information to music will help you remember. Some people can learn by listening
to music. Be careful what you choose to listen to. It should be background music,
and not something that takes away from your concentration
- Having strong Naturalist Intelligence means you notice patterns and relationships.
Use this in what you are studying by noticing similarities, differences, and categories.
Beginning with the whole and working down into the parts may benefit you. It will
be extremely important for you to have a working knowledge of the "big picture."
- If your Spatial Intelligence is strong, you learn well by making models of problems
- models that you can manipulate and move in order to understand symbolic meaning.
Use clay or plastic straws to create geometric shapes. Use model cars or airplanes
to simulate the action in motion problems involving distance, rates, and times. Use
models or pictures to help remember history analogies.
- If you are strong in Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence, use the ability to read a textbook
to learn and understand the course you are studying. You may with to write symbols
in words to make sense of them. If you are studying math you may want to write down
the reasons for each step - so that you can see it in the language of words as well
as the language of mathematics.
Use your intelligences! Find out how you learn, adapt if you need to, but make it
work for you.
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