Practical Approaches to Using Learning Styles in Higher Education

By Rita Dunn; Shirley A. Griggs | Go to book overview
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Chapter 22

Global Teaching in an Analytic Environment: Is There Madness in the Method?

Ralph A. TerregrossaandValerie Englander


INTRODUCTION

Proficient teaching of college economics requires intensive training both in the principles of economics and in the principles of education. Although all economics professors receive rigorous training in economic theory, they receive virtually none in the principles of education. Consequently, their teaching methods are acquired mainly by trial and error, or by imitation of the styles of other adept economics instructors, perhaps including their shortcomings. In this regard, the teaching of economics fails to be guided by the principles of economics.

Meta-analytic research suggests the optimal method of teaching is congruent with students’ learning styles (Dunn, Griggs, Olson, Gorman, & Beasley, 1995). According to the multidimensional Dunn and Dunn Learning-Style Model (1993), there is neither one right way to learn nor one right way to teach. Each person possesses an optimal, diversified learning style or way to concentrate on, process, absorb, and remember new and difficult information. Learning styles, which change with age, are determined by a combination of environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological, and psychological factors. What this means, for example, is that some students may prefer learning alone late at night while lying on the bed with low light and the radio playing. If they are taught in a more traditional way, such as during regular school hours while seated formally at a desk in a brightly lighted classroom by an authoritative teacher and without any background sound, then some of them may not live up to their potential.

Economists explain that to maximize output, resources must be optimally used so that the incremental cost of using them equals the benefit of the

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