Learning Styles and College Teaching: My Experiences with Education Majors
Ann C. Braio
My husband is a philosophy professor. Need I say more? Our conversations, over dinner, travel along several well-worn routes. One is how to create a better world. Another is the meaning of our human existence. Still another is how to better reach the young people we teach.
The last question is always the one most talked about. We always have stressed that it is important not to lecture to students; the conventions of mere lecturing are alien to the conditions of human learning. Instead, we must find ways to foster our students' understanding of the meaning of what we are inviting them to learn. I often have thought to myself, Easy to say; hard to deliver! And then I realized that through research conducted with the Dunn and Dunn Learning-Style Model ( 1992), I not only could help school-aged children understand better, but also could help my own education major students at Manhattan College.
Although I had a full-time position in Special Education in a major public school system, I began as a part-time college instructor approximately 10 years ago. This decision easily was made as I always had enjoyed working with future teachers by advising and guiding them. These are my people! This work was also an outlet for all my creative impulses which my full-time work could not satisfy. Thus, I worked diligently in my classes to build a vital educational milieu. After several years of college teaching, I recognized that I had adopted the teaching style required by the lecture format of many of my former teachers. In addition, I had completely neglected the learning styles of my students with either a tactual or kinesthetic style. That realization made me willing to change how I taught.
Therefore, I immediately started revising the teacher-education courses I taught to make them more creative. First, I decided to administer the Pro-