I recently read the article Young Adolescents and Learning Styles. The article started off stating the obvious; all students learn in different ways. The article continued to get more in depth about this topic including previous research done at the middle school level. Terry O’ Gorman conducted a study of schools in 16 different states. The schools were in diverse areas and represented diverse populations. The study was a 70-statement learning styles survey which asks students questions pertaining to how they learn best and how they prefer to learn.
The study ended, resulting in a majority of students falling under the category of the following top 3, social (interpersonal), aural (musical/listening), and visual (spatial) ways of learning. The bottom 3 were verbal (linguistic), logical (logical-mathematical), and solitary (intrapersonal). After reading this article with factual data, the question is:
Should we direct our teaching efforts exclusively to the preferred learning styles or to all those styles in order to raise the cognitive levels of each student within each style?
I feel that it’s important to touch upon all learning styles when teaching whole class. I don't believe that a whole class lesson should be geared directly towards visual learners just because that’s the way the majority of the class prefers learning. Instead, the lesson should touch on all styles that help to build students ability to learn in different ways, essentially raising cognitive levels for all styles.
Science is a great subject to incorporate all learning styles (especially our FOSS program.) Here’s an example of how I’ve incorporated all learning styles into my teaching. Students can start off independently, working on some sort of do now or question of the day (solitary), then the lesson can move towards the teacher modeling the inquire based experiment (visual) and the teacher explaining the procedures (aural & verbal). Next, students work in groups (social, aural, & verbal) and work hands on (physical & visual) with the experiment. Finally, all the groups can come together and participate in a class discussion (logical) on what everyone has observed in their experiment.