Barbara K. GivenandEdward P. Tyler
‘‘I don’t think undergraduate students will use tactual materials even if they have access to them,’’ Bill offered in a class of doctoral students planning to teach at the community college level. ‘‘They might,’’ countered Margaret, a computer-skills instructor. ‘‘It depends on what you’re teaching.’’
‘‘I teach Spanish,’’ Emma spoke up, ‘‘and my students love the materials I make.’’
‘‘Perhaps teaching a foreign language lends itself to manipulatives, since there is a discreet body of information to be learned,’’ Freed offered. ‘‘Students would probably enjoy supplementing what they read and hear by interacting with the language.’’
Freed’s comments revealed an intuitive grasp of matching content with student learning needs—a concept called learning-styles instruction. An individual’s learning style pertains to the rather consistent ‘‘combination of many biologically- and experientially-imposed characteristics that contribute to learning, each in its own way and all together as a unit’’ (Dunn & Dunn, 1993, p. 2). Learning-styles instruction, therefore, accommodates an individual’s visual, auditory, tactual, or kinesthetic modality preferences. As Freed implied, students who are tactual probably need a hands-on approach to foreign language vocabulary.
For the first time in her teaching career, the professor had the privilege of teaching a one-credit course on brain behavior for undergraduates and a