Cognitive Styles and Classroom Learning

By Harry Morgan | Go to book overview
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8
Conclusion

If I have a hidden agenda, as a teacher, it is to watch how the students learn. I watch and I puzzle over why striking differences in perception so regularly occur. In our discussion, I notice these differences again: some students tell us how they feel about the winds themselves; some ask questions to help them think about how they'll describe an experience they once had in nature and make it into something "meaningful"--they're thinking about the next assignment; some wax philosophical about Didion's ironic stance and some are aware only of the sound of the wind buffeting the windows as we speak, the swish of my skirt, and the way their hearts pound as I give out the assignment.

-- Lori Ann Miller

Cognitive style has experienced a great deal of research interest over the past fifty years, but this interest has not been sustained at levels equal to its early years. This interest, as you now know, has encouraged studies of personality, problem-solving behavior, cognition, dysfunctional behaviors, and the general processing of information.

The 1950s work of Adorno and others in The Authoritarian Personality, and Rokeach, in The Open and Closed Mind, were among selected psychological theories that integrated theories of personality into cognitive preference studies. The work that followed provided hundreds of cognitive style studies that extended through the 1960s. During this period cognitive style researchers attempted to highlight various implications for educators within the context of cognitive style theories.

For example, in a scholarly environment replete with descriptions of African American children and children of Hispanic descent as

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