Learning Styles and Student Achievement Term Paper

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Students level of skills

How students are relating to vocabulary usage

Time segments in minutes

Notes need help (more than 20% are unable to process)

Students are spending more time working independently. Fewer students need assistance from teacher.

A somewhat skilled (10-20% need some assistance from teacher) working independently (fewer than 10% need assistance from teacher

Learning Styles used

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Verbal/Linguistic

Visual/Spatial

Body/Kinesthetic

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Musical

Naturalistic

Student Engagement Indicators - Make notes of overall impression of the lesson:

Students Given Choices

Give 1 to Get 1 activity gave students choices when deciding on which vocabulary terms to write out first.

Learning Put in Context

Students were able to relate new vocabulary terms to chapter problems.

Students working independently

As can be seen from the observation checklists examined above, the students used many different learning styles as the times of the activities increased, thereby indicating that they preferred these learning styles once they understood what the material was and became comfortable with it. Other ways of learning were quickly introduced, however, and these were not necessarily chosen by the teacher to occur at any specific period of time but instead happened spontaneously as the students found new ways to deal with problems or as they responded to instructions that the teacher supplied them with for information that they needed. This allowed the students to use some techniques for learning that have been suspected for some time to be effective but that did not necessarily work for all students or that had not been tried yet in this type of setting.

The students that were in the class where different types of learning were allowed performed better overall than students in a traditional class, as the following tables will strongly indicate.

Assignment Progress Summary (Class with Different Learning Styles):

Student 1

Student 2

Student 3

Student 4

Student 5

Student 6

Student 7

Student 8

Student 9

Student 10

Student 11

Student 12

Student 13

Student 14

The overall class average for this class was 85%. Now, this must be compared with the second class, which was the class that had only standard instruction. There were no creative learning styles used within that second class, represented below.

Assignment Progress Summary (Class without Different Learning Styles):

Student 1

Student 2

Student 3

Student 4

Student 5

Student 6

Student 7

Student 8

Student 9

Student 10

Student 11

Student 12

Student 13

Student 14

Student 15

Student 16

Student 17

The average for this class was only 60%, which is obviously much less than the first class. From this, it would seem as though the chance to learn things in different ways and employ different techniques would affect how well a high school student retained the information he or she was given and therefore how well that same student performed on tests regarding that material. The stress levels for high school students likely go down when they see that they can learn in some different ways and remember the information that they were given by their teacher.

Helping to reduce stress among students is important in that students who are more relaxed are more receptive to a learning environment. Students who spend their time worrying about what's coming next, or if the teacher is going to call on them, or if they are going to be able to learn the material, often do not pay much attention to anything but their own worry. Because of this they miss many important things that go on in the classroom, and may be even more anxious if they are called upon to read or answer questions, especially if they are not good readers, if English is their second language, or if they are otherwise uncomfortable with the classroom environment (Brophy & Evertson, 1976).

In looking at language skills and learning styles in the classroom, Pamela Cooper and Lea Stewart discuss the acquisition of language and its importance. While there is no complete consensus on how students acquire language, it is believed that there are three factors -- biological forces, interaction with others, and natural curiosity. Those same forces are there in learning to read as well, and they are likely what made these students have a continued interest in the vocabulary words that they had to learn. Reading and vocabulary is simply an extension of using language. It is using written language instead of verbal, but the ways people learn it are basically the same, based on their learning styles.

Biological forces come into play in that genetics often play a part in a student's academic career. If parents were good students and high achievers in the area of reading and vocabulary, and continue to make reading part of their daily lives, it is likely that the student will have much more interest in reading than a student whose parents do nothing in the evening but watch television. Interaction with adults ties into the equation at this point, as well. Students who are read to by their parents or other adults from a young age are much more likely to want to read to themselves and will be more interested in words when they get older. Students whose parents do not show any interest in reading and do not keep books around the house are likely going to feel that books, reading, vocabulary, learning, and related matters are not very important.

The third part of the equation, natural curiosity, can also determine how much interest a person has in learning. Some students are much more curious than others, and those students who have a heightened sense of curiosity in the world around them will be more apt to learn to read and discover more words so they can find out about that world. Curiosity in students should be encouraged, especially when it comes to the world of books and words.

Cooper and Stewart agree with Purkey on one important point: teachers must be good listeners. A student's language development is greatly enhanced by a good listener who encourages them to talk and asks them questions to teach them to be more descriptive. The same is true of reading. As stated, reading is an extension of language development, and an adult, whether teacher, parent, or someone else, who is willing to listen to a student read will help that student out a great deal. Again, this is especially true of younger students who have already learned how to read somewhat but are at that crucial age where a love of books can be born, but it also applies to high school students that can still find enjoyment in the learning of words and the reasons behind them. Much of this relates to the way that they learn the words and the chances that they get to discover more and use different styles of learning.

Technology is becoming one of the most important issues when it comes to learning styles today, and so should also be addressed here, especially where rural and smaller schools are concerned and students are struggling to learn and to graduate. One option for schools is for the states to offer strong financial incentives to those that are qualified and that are willing to teach in areas where there is a teacher shortage, or to increase the ability that financially disadvantaged districts have in order to help them pay for highly qualified teachers for their district (U.S. Department of Education, 2000; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1997).

Distance learning has also been proposed as a good strategy to help alleviate many problems that schools are facing when it comes to the providing of a comprehensive curriculum and in the training of teachers (Reeves, 2003). This distance learning also allows the smaller schools to offer more comprehensive curricula without the requirement of hiring more staff. Distance learning, therefore, also helps to make it possible for schools that are geographically isolated to be able to provide more professional development for teachers without having to take on the high costs that are associated with traveling for continuing education credits or certification (Reeves, 2003). However, it is still very important for these school districts to remember that the idea of distance learning encompasses many technologies, and not all of them are exceedingly effective.

At one end of the line are the online courses that are much like correspondence courses. These students are allowed to work at their natural pace and they have very little interaction with instructors or any other students. At the other end of the line, however, is interactive I-TV technology, which provides a classroom-like environment. With I-TV, the teachers and the students are able to use technology so that they can interact in 'real time' (Reeves, 2003).

Years of research have indicated that students generally learn more and perform better when they are taught in an environment that is structured and that allows for a more regular…[continue]

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