As the CBC Curriculum is progressing, most educators are on the lookout for the different ‘learning styles’ If you dive deep, you will find over 70 different learning and teaching styles that attempt to explain where learners fall and how they can best learn.
With the notion of learning styles becoming more popular, teachers have found the need to actively recognize each learner’s learning style and evolve their teaching styles, lesson plans, and homework to help each child achieve maximum comprehension.
What exactly are learning styles?
During some of the trainings we have held in the past, facilitators talk about some of the learning styles they employ when teaching. The concept of learning styles has been around since the 1970s and it’s no wonder that it’s still there today. Well-intentioned teachers and learners who are committed to learning still carry it forward.
However, just like the facilitators state, they employ different styles because a learner will not only perform best when trained in a way that directly corresponds to their “unique learning style”-Auditory, Kinesthetic, visual, or a combination of the three.
Every student will differ in terms of skill, interest, and prior experience, but not in terms of learning styles. It has been proven that when people have a favourite style of presentation, it is basically for a task or topic in they understand, have a talent for, or already feel good about.
Here is one common breakdown;
Is Mutiso’spreferred method of learning pictures and images? It is possible that he is a Visual learner.
Do Abdi and Njeri collect knowledge by reading, taking notes, and writing notes? They may be Reading/Writing learners
Does Ouma learn best by attending lessons, asking questions, and engaging in group discussions? He may be an auditory learner.
What about Kendi? She is very hands-on and seems to love disassembling and reassembling items in order to learn by doing. It is possible she is a kinesthetic learner.
But it is not the only style. Most teaching styles fall under one of two categories: Teacher-Centered or Learner-Centred.
The two categories are different both in approach and execution. Here are some of the notable differences between the two approaches in the CBC curriculum.
Also known as sage on the stage. This is the teaching method that was there in the
8-4-4 curriculum, where the teacher is viewed as the authority in charge of imparting knowledge and the learners are just empty vessels who are there to just listen and absorb information.
In a recent training, MS. Amina, a teacher who has been in the profession for around 15 years mentioned that when she began teaching, she unconsciously modelled her teaching style on how she had been taught and the teachers she had growing up. She stood in front of the classroom and told people things. With time she realized that her learners were not getting the most out of the learning experience and she sort to change this.
This was long before the new curriculum was implemented. For her, the teacher-centred approach did not really work for her learners.
In the learner-centred learning approach, the teacher is still in the classroom and maintains being the authority figure but functions as more of a facilitator as learners embrace a more active and collaborative role in their own learning. This method is often referred to as a guide on the side. Under student-based learning there are a few styles to consider:
• Approach Based on Inquisitiveness
Here learners lead the way and receive instructions from the teacher. This approach promotes flexibility, autonomy, and hands-on learning.
• Approach Based on Co-operation
This approach emphasizes group work and social development, and just like the inquiry-based style it promotes individuality and flexibility but places the importance on peer-peer collaboration thus fostering independence in your learners.
Ms Amina, after fully embracing the learner-centred approach over the years, came to understand that the main importance of the learner-centred classroom, is that it removes mastery from the teacher and allows the learners to be masters, too. She said that sometimes she needed to leave the learners alone so that they could learn and gain independence while at it.
In conclusion, our aim is not to categorize or label teachers as “one type” of educator but rather to bring to light the various methods in order to improve the teaching experience and ensure our children get the most out of a learning area And be a successful educator one must aim to have a clear understanding of the various learning styles and a solid grasp of the various teaching styles and strategies.