The Peculiarities of Learning Foreign Languages: Learning Styles

Learning styles are various approaches or ways of learning. They involve methods of education, specific to an individual that are supposed to enable him or her to learn better. Most people prefer an identifiable method of interacting, receiving, and processing stimuli or information. Based on this concept, the idea of ​​individualized “learning styles” originated in the 1970s and became “enormously popular.”

Today we can talk about different learning styles, which depend on our personality and psychological qualities. What we must take into account to define our learning styles is the following:

1) interest, attitudes and sources of energy

– extraversion (orientation towards the outside world)

– introversion (orientation towards the inner world)

2) preferences for collecting information

-detection (obtaining information from sensory inputs)

– intuition (gathering information by going beyond the immediate experiences of life to consider possibilities, probabilities and other aspects that are not immediately available to our senses).

3) how judgments and decisions are made

– think (become objective, logical, personal, look for the causes of events and the pros and cons of each situation)

-feelings (subjective and personal judgment of the situation)

4) lifestyle guidelines

– judgment

– perception

From this information, different models of widely used learning styles emerged. One of them is the Learning Styles Index developed by Richard Felder and Linda Silverman in the 1980s. According to this model, four dimensions of learning styles can be identified:

Sensory-intuitive

visual-verbal

active-reflective

Sequential-global.

Having read the information on all these dimensions, it was difficult for me to define my predominant learning style. But the special questionnaire helped me to solve this problem. It was suggested to visit the special site and answer a series of questions about my own attitude to these or those tasks in the practice of learning. My result was quite good from my point of view. Almost all dimensions are in balance, only in one visual-verbal dimension did I score 5-7 (a moderate preference for the Verbal dimension).

Having done this quiz, I came to the conclusion that it is essential to be a balanced learner, i.e. not to have a predominant learning style, but to have abilities to acquire different types of information: visual, verbal, through our senses, etc. .

So I had to think about how to provide my students with a balanced learning experience. And I understood that it is necessary to use this questionnaire for them to point out their preferences in learning. And after that, I have to use different types of presentation of information and also different types of assignments and projects considering the predominant learning styles of my students.

For example, if I’m introducing a new topic, it’s best to use a visual presentation that students can see while I’m speaking. Visual learners can summarize this information using mind maps. Verbal learners must present a brief summary or interpretation of this information. For those who like facts and details (sensory learners), we can assign you the task of analyzing additional information at home and preparing a short report of important facts related to this topic. For sequential students, you can assign a problem solving task (set up a problem and give them some time to come up with alternative decisions). And after that, it is good to use round table task or discussions on the problem of this topic (by doing this task active learners can demonstrate their skills and at the same time thoughtful learners can participate in decision making ).

Summing up, I would like to underline that it is important to have a personalized approach to each student, paying attention to their demands and expectations. That is why teachers need to be creative in their teaching and use a wide range of tasks and activities to help students with different learning styles.

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