Learning Styles in the Philippines

Article excerpt

Is there a distinctive learning style that characterizes middle school students of the Philippines, an archipelago of some 7000 islands in Southeast Asia? This study sought to find out.

The Learning Style Inventory (LSI) of Dunn, Dunn, and Price (1992) was administered to 450 sixth and seventh grade students in one urban and two rural schools. The LSI is a self-report instrument which analyzes the conditions under which students in grades 3 to 12 prefer to learn. It uses dichotomous items such as "I study best when it is quiet," and "I can ignore sound when I study" (Dunn, 1987).

Of the 22 elements of learning style assessed by the LSI, Filipino students were found to have preferences for eight. They prefer quiet rather than music or other sound when studying. They need bright light to concentrate or they may become drowsy and can't think well. Filipino students prefer cool temperatures and believe they do not perform as well when they are warm. They enjoy sitting in wooden, steel, or plastic chairs (formal design) and can work in them for long periods of time.

Often students who think better in quiet than with sound, who need bright rather than dim light, and who concentrate better in formal seating than on a soft chair or sofa tend to be sequential and persistent learners: They move from the beginning of a task to the end in a series of discrete stages (Dunn & Milgram, 1993). In addition, sequential and persistent learners prefer to work on only one thing at a time. Once they begin something, they stay with it until it is completed.

Strangely, Filipino students tend not to be persistent. They take frequent breaks while studying and often prefer to work on several tasks simultaneously. They begin something, stay with it for a while, stop and do something else, and later return to the earlier assignment.

Filipino students appear to learn best in the early morning. They are most alert, most easily attentive, and best behaved at that time.

Filipino students are visual and kinesthetic learners. They prefer to process information by seeing it. They like to receive information from pictures, graphs, diagrams, and visual media. As kinesthetic learners, Filipino students learn well through whole body involvement and direct experience. They want to be as active as they can. Role play, field trips, grouping together with fellow students to form the letters of the alphabet with their bodies, and becoming physically involved in the thoughts expressed in poetry are examples of activities that help them learn. Filipino students, least preferred perceptual modality is auditory.

Overall, the learning style preferences of the Filipino students tested would seem to be with the results of Pate, et al. (1990) who found low to moderate correlations between activity level and fitness test items. Our study differed in that we used different measures of fitness as well as subjects of a different age. …