Academic journal article College Student Journal

Knowledge Management and Learning Styles: Prescriptions for Future Teachers

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Knowledge Management and Learning Styles: Prescriptions for Future Teachers

Article excerpt

This manuscript presents a framework for teaching diverse college students who are studying to become teachers. On the basis of learning-style preference, the authors identify a model in which one of either of the two prototype reliable and valid instruments could be designed for multicultural students at the pre-collegiate and post-secondary levels. Based on earlier research cited by the authors, the essay reports the results of experimental studies as a potential model, in which undergraduates were randomly selected from a total population of first-time, full-time freshmen and transfer students. Many of these students could be "knowledge management oriented" teachers for the nation's growing multicultural schools.

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Chancellor Joe Wyatt of Vanderbilt University recently remarked, "our nation's future depends on a high-quality public education system and a superior force of educators". There is no more important work (Darling-Hammond). Three compelling demographic shifts in the American college classroom provide the genesis for this essay. First, the nation's public schools, particularly those in urban venues, have become profoundly multicultural. Second, there has been a steadfast emerging need to staff the nation's teaching force. And third, colleges and schools of education are challenged with replacing a retiring teacher education labor force with new professors who must be capable of responding to the first two demographic shifts. In Miami, Florida International University provides 30% of the teachers for the local school systems in a state that, coincidently, has a 30% illiteracy rate. Miami, like most modern urban venues, is a multicultural metropolis with rich diversity among students enrolled in public and private schools at all levels. Perhaps recognizing this and other socio-economic implications, the Florida Assembly passed legislation requiring schools to examine learning styles. This essay suggests that teaching college students who currently, or might, major in teacher education to learn about their own diverse learning styles is a prudent way to empower these future teachers with knowledge about multicultural learning styles among the children and youth enrolled in our increasingly challenging public schools. Not only is this knowledge transfer and relationship pedagogically sound, it could no doubt manifest into a relationship to sustain learning improvement and academic achievement. In this context, teachers can become both effective and efficient managers of their knowledge about multicultural learning. In an informal survey completed by one of the authors in a graduate level class for two dozen teachers who were earning a masters degree in urban education, most of the teachers, who were either Black (African descent) or Hispanic (Latin descent) American, felt they were unaware of their learning styles in elementary or secondary levels, but knew of their learning styles in college. Most of these teachers also indicated that they had either Black- or Hispanic. American students in their classrooms, which were predominately at the elementary and middle school levels. These authors hypothesized that our nation's aspiring multicultural teachers and their multicultural students would become better managers of the information they gained from the transfer of explicit knowledge (lesson plans and other instructional materials) and tacit knowledge (in the heads of teachers), if they both could have a fundamental understanding of each other's learning style. The term "knowledge management" is commonly used in the corporate sector for explaining organizational learning and investing in intellectual capital. It has direct applicability to the educational setting. Teachers could, indeed, develop prescription-based lesson plans through an analysis and the results from this "knowledge transfer" and relationship-building process. In academic terms, this is the locus of control or the unit of analysis. …

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