Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Learning-Style Perceptual Preferences of Bruneian Students

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Learning-Style Perceptual Preferences of Bruneian Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This manuscript describes a comprehensive research project in which the teaching styles of 22 Bruneian primary- and 185 secondary-school teachers were compared with the learning styles of their respective primary (n = 282) and secondary (n=755) students. The teachers' teaching styles narrowly ranged from Somewhat Traditional to Traditional, two classifications on the Teaching Style Inventory (Dunn & Dunn, 1993), indicating that they frequently taught through lectures and required readings. In contrast, their students evidenced a wide range of perceptual preferences that extended from extremely low-, to only peripheral-, to integrated- to extremely-high auditory, visual, tactile, or kinesthetic modalities. Those findings suggested the need for widely diverse teaching approaches.

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Frequent Classroom Behaviors: What Learning Styles Do They Suggest?

Miss Fauziah's eyes scanned her students' faces and although several seemed engrossed in what she was teaching: Ahmad was staring through the window at the children engaged in morning exercises in the school courtyard;

* Rosnah was tapping her foot, shifting in her seat, and periodically changing positions from upright to sprawl;

* Lina was drawing the monkey her father had given her for her tenth birthday last week; and

* Rana's eyes were dangerously close to closing.

Miss Fauziah stopped the lesson and spoke softly. "Ahmad, the information you need to learn is not outside in the courtyard. Rosnah, sit still and pay attention to the lesson! Lina, you are not supposed to draw as I lecture! Rana, when did you go to sleep last night?" The teacher's eyes reflected her disappointment with these distracted students. "Children, it is important that you learn this material or you will never pass the examinations and go on to high school! You must pay attention to every word!"

Teachers' Teaching Styles and Students' Perceptual Preferences

The teaching style most frequently used in traditional classrooms often is described as talk and chalk. In Brunei, most teachers teach by talk and chalk; we lecture, involve students in discussions, and write notes on the board. For most of teaching years, our children were expected to listen and memorize new and difficult information that they later were required to recall on a test. We have learned that many of our young children cannot do that. They are not auditory learners (Dunn, Thies, & Honigsfeld, 2001; Pengiran-Jadid, 1998).

Auditory students can remember at least three-quarters of what they hear in a normal 40- to 50-minute class period. Students, who are not auditory, remember little of what they hear unless they take notes or are very interested in the subject or topic (Dunn & Dunn, 1992, 1993; Dunn, Dunn, & Perrin, 1994). Visual learners remember three-quarters of what they read and then need to use the new information creatively, by writing a poem or skit, or developing a crossword puzzle based on what they have been taught. Visual learners extract meaning from books, transparencies, charts, films, videotapes, movies, and so forth.

Tactual learners learn well with manipulatives such as Electroboards, Flip Chutes, Pic-A-Holes, and Task Cards (Dunn and Dunn, 1992, 1993; Dunn, Dunn, & Perrin, 1994). They then need to use the information they learned in a creative way by making something new. Kinesthetic learners learn while actively moving--with Floor Games, role-playing, drama, dance, band, athletics, or on-the-job assignments.

Research Concerning Perceptual Preferences/Strengths

Many researchers have documented the statistically higher standardized achievement-and attitude-test scores of underachievers and Special Education students after they were introduced to new and difficult academic information tactually or kinesthetically. Those findings were documented with elementary, middle school, high school, and adult students (Dunn & DeBello, 1999; Dunn, Thies, & Honigsfeld, 2001). …

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