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December 4th, 2001
09:31 am

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Learning styles
Several times over the past week or so, I've heard people here at work (a textbook publisher) refer to concrete and visual learning as more juvenile than abstract learning. Sure, we develop the ability to abstract as we grow older, but does that mean we should abandon other ways of learning? Don't some people learn better with concrete and visual cues? Some of this is vaguely familiar from some education classes I took a while back, but I don't remember enough of it to say anything intelligent to people who say stuff like that is juvenile. I need to look into the theory of learning styles.

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From:tigerbright
Date:December 4th, 2001 06:47 am (UTC)
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What a very odd way to phrase it.

Last year at this time when I was seriously considering becoming a technical trainer, I took several courses in how to teach adults, including one on learning styles and how to make sure that all learning styles are addressed in a course. The types were visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Abstract thinking was a completely separate issue.

Maybe this OPN I'll bring my learning styles workbook for you to borrow, if I know you'll be there.
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From:queue
Date:December 4th, 2001 07:31 am (UTC)
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I'll be there. That would be most welcome.

I wish I had had more opportunities to "play" in school. I hated high school geometry except for the tesselation project we got to do. I spent all sorts of time in other classes designing many different tesselations, and I was the first one to turn in my project (it was ducks), which was totally unusual behavior for me. But, other than that one project, everything in that class was more abstract. There was a real opportunity to turn people's minds on by investigating shape, but it was just not taken advantage of.

I wonder how much of the feeling that concrete things are more juvenile is driven by the general feeling out there in the schools. And, since our business is all about getting schools to buy the books we make, we need to cater to that. In the recent past, I was training to be a high school teacher, and I decided not to do it for a variety of reasons. One of them, though, was the fact that schools that I have had experience with are there to force children to learn information. And the most efficient way to shuffle kids along isn't necessarily the best way for each child, or even most children.

Another big factor for me deciding not to teach was that I found out about the Sudbury Valley School, and I just fell in love with the concept. I really want any kids that I have to be able to go to school in an environment like this (kids do nothing that they don't want to do, and, no, they aren't slyly coaxed into doing things, either) instead of the model of school that I am more familiar with.
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