Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles

By Robert J. Sternberg; Li-Fang Zhang | Go to book overview

6—
The Lived Space of Learning: An Inquiry into Indigenous Australian University Students' Experiences of Studying
Gillian Boulton-Lewis
Queensland University of Technology
Ference Marton
The University of Hong Kong, China, and Gothenburg University, Sweden
Lynn Wilss
Queensland University of Technology

This chapter is concerned with how to describe learning. This is considered first with regard to other theoretical perspectives presented in this book and then from the perspective of phenomenography. The focus is on learning by Indigenous Australian university students. The main difference between our perspective and those described in other chapters is that in our phenomenographically inspired paradigm we are looking at the world with the learners and trying to describe it as they see it rather than looking at their learning as outsiders.


Ways of Describing Learning

Sternberg and Grigorenko (1997) reviewed cognitive styles and defined them as “people's characteristic and typically preferred modes of processing information” p. 700, which are a subset of the general construct of style, that is, a distinctive or characteristic manner of acting. He described thinking styles as preferred ways of using abilities and as one manifestation of research on cognitive styles. His approach to styles is based on a theory of mental self-government in the belief that styles of government are a

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