I like taking tests. I like taking standardized tests. I like filling in the little ovals...I like that I can select an answer from a group of answers, thus having a chance to reason it out, I like to write essay question answers...I am a big geek.
I also like to have my personality explored via tests. It's a little like the fun of a fortune teller. You take what works, you leave behind what doesn't. And as I have gotten older, it seems to be more and more consistent.
So as a learner, in the VARK, I was really happy to see they added the R, because as I suspected I am a High Visual Learner AND a High Reading/Writing learner. Joanne talks about note taking in HS in her blog, well I am always the note taker in meetings. I am accurate and fast. And once I write it, I remember it, so I don't have to look at it again. Sometimes my notes are in the form of a pictogram to describe what I am hearing. This does slow me down in reading, as I like to skip the niceties, transitionals, things I already know/agree with and write down the main points so I can recall them. If someone is a good non-fiction writer this usually is in the first line of the paragraph. Highlighting is not enough. I have to re-write it. Sometimes I wish all text books would be in the form of a chart that you could look at for the high level ideas, and then click on them for examples and details....WAIT! BRAINSTORM! Copyright Marianne Witterholt Carr 2010! Got it!
And this is also representative of my other learning style according to Kolb. I am just a bit right of the center on the line between Diverger and Assimilator. According to this theory, the closer to the middle, the more of a well rounded learner you are...but what does well rounded mean? I think I was taught to be able to learn in these difference manners in elementary school. I was fortunate enough to attend grade school in Connecticut in the late 60's early 70's when many experimental educational programs were occurring even in the public school system. We were taught how to learn.
I have always been very comfortable with divergent thinking -- coming up with many, many ideas. I think any one can be encouraged to improve this skill (as indicated in the video supplied in Tobi's blogg). I think the assimilation part mirrors my love of making charts and pictograms of concepts. Often this is the art of taking concepts and assembling (or assimilating) them together to show relationships. Good stuff.
So as a teacher, I think I have to be very cautious to remember that everyone is not like me. I have to push outside my own comfort zone and include more kinesthetic or aural work so that for those students they can feel connected. I believe I will actually need to be conscious of looking for specific activities and tactics that teach the same thing, maybe four different ways.
This is also the case in leading brainstorming activities. There are many different types of divergent and convergent activities. Different types of people will be more productive in the different activities because of their learning styles. Learning styles may also come into play as a way to market an innovation. In order for people to embrace something, they must learn about it. So how do you make a launch of an innovative product appeal to all these different kind of learners? WAIT! BRAINSTORM!Copyright Marianne Witterholt Carr 2010! Got it!