Term Paper: Learning Styles and Student Achievement

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Learning Styles and Student Achievement

According to William Watson Purkey and John M. Novak, in order to teach a student, you have to be able to reach the student. They do not mean 'reach' in the physical sense, as in touching the student, but rather making a mental or emotional connection between the teacher and the student (Purkey, 1984).

Opening up to students is very important for teachers. While it is obviously not appropriate for a teacher to confide intimate personal details to the class, or gossip about others to try to be more accepted, there are ways that a teacher can seem more 'real' to the students. For example, crying over something very sad or letting the students know when the teacher is getting angry with their misbehavior goes a long way toward having students see teachers as real people. Children in the second and third grades often react very positively to this behavior, but there are ways to reach high schoolers and older students as well.

Once students see teachers as real people, they begin to feel they can talk to them, and will often open themselves up to all kinds of suggestions, including an interest in books, if the teacher suggests a book that they feel the student will really enjoy. Until the teacher has the trust of the student, it is very difficult to get the student to accept anything the teacher says as something they might enjoy (Purkey, 1984). Some of this comes from the 'realness' of a teacher acting like a 'normal' person, and some of it comes from the idea that students all have different ways for learning about different things. If teachers are aware of this, they can go a long way toward helping their students succeed.

Another way to get students more interested in school and learning is through writing exercises. Reading and writing are addressed here based on the idea that vocabulary words were the main concern in the study. These exercises have to be made enjoyable, however, or the students will not take much interest in them. Incentives are also a good way to keep these students interested in learning. One idea for a good writing exercise is the keeping of a journal. This journal can be something that only the teacher sees, or it can be something that the student will be required to share with the class. If it's going to be shared with the class, the students should be made aware of that before they begin writing, to avoid embarrassment and other problems later on (Purkey, 1984).

Allowing students some time each week to read each other's journals could spark an interest in reading in some of the students in the classroom. While not everyone's journal will be interesting or exciting, the students may find bits of stories, pieces of poetry, or almost anything else in those pages. The mystery of the unknown will create some interest in reading among the students, and may also help them to feel closer to each other as they share their experiences and realize that they are not all that different from one another. In younger children, journal writing needs to be simplified somewhat so that seven to ten-year-olds are not expected to write several pages each day. A few paragraphs might be more appropriate. In order for the teacher to remain a real person to the students, the teacher should keep a journal too, and be willing to share it with the class (Purkey, 1984).

Brophy and Evertson report that a systematic pattern is also a good way to help underachieving students. In a systematic pattern, each student is called upon to read, but there is no random choosing. Students read in order, and each one knows when their turn is coming. This can help them determine what passage they may have to read and look it over before they read it, reducing the anxiety that many poor or uninterested readers have when they are required to read in public. Systematic patterns are especially helpful with the second and third grade age group, because they still need a lot of structure in their school day to make the most of their learning experience (Brophy & Evertson, 1976). For the high school student, however, a less structured environment that employs different kinds of learning styles would likely be a better choice.

According to the work done for this study, high school students that are allowed to have different learning styles in the classroom and different activities performed much better as an overall class than did students that were only taught in the traditional way. The following tables will indicate that information. First, the students were observed five different times during activities. The observation checklists 1-5 are below, in part, to indicate what was seen as it relates to these students.

Observation Checklist 1

1. Class Organization

How are students working?

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Students:

First observation

Introduction of new vocabulary terms working alone working in pairs small groups whole class off task

2. Students level of skills

How students are relating to vocabulary usage

Time segments in minutes

Notes need help (more than 20% are unable to process)

Students are adapting to how the new vocabulary words relate to the content. Some students had difficulty understanding the new terms.

A somewhat skilled (10-20% need some assistance from teacher) working independently (fewer than 10% need assistance from teacher

Learning Styles used

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Verbal/Linguistic

Visual/Spatial

Body/Kinesthetic

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Musical

Naturalistic

Student Engagement Indicators - Make notes of overall impression of the lesson:

Hands-on Work

Tied Into Interest & Made Interesting

Students Given Choices

Give 1 to Get 1 activity gave students choices when deciding on which vocabulary terms to write out first.

Learning Put in Context

Students were able to relate new vocabulary terms to chapter problems.

Students started working independently earlier into the lesson without the assistance of the teacher.

Observation Checklist 2

1. Class Organization

How are students working?

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Students:

Game: Vocabulary Monday

Family Feud working alone working in pairs small groups whole class off task

2. Students level of skills

How students are relating to vocabulary usage

Time segments in minutes

Notes need help (more than 20% are unable to process) somewhat skilled (10-20% need some assistance from teacher) working independently (fewer than 10% need assistance from teacher

Learning Styles used

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Verbal/Linguistic

Students were able to work in teams using various learning styles

Visual/Spatial

Body/Kinesthetic

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Musical

Naturalistic

Student Engagement Indicators - Make notes of overall impression of the lesson:

Hands-on Work

Tied Into Interest & Made Interesting

Students Given Choices

Students were allowed to make choices about their teams when playing Vocabulary Monday - Family Feud. They were allowed to choice the order of answering questions.

Learning Put in Context

Students were able to work in teams. Team members were able to assist other students with new vocabulary terms.

Observation Checklist 3

1. Class Organization

How are students working?

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Students:

Second observation of new vocabulary terms working alone working in pairs small groups whole class off task

2. Students level of skills

How students are relating to vocabulary usage

Time segments in minutes

Notes need help (more than 20% are unable to process)

Students are spending more time working independently.

A somewhat skilled (10-20% need some assistance from teacher) working independently (fewer than 10% need assistance from teacher

Learning Styles used

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Verbal/Linguistic

Visual/Spatial

Body/Kinesthetic

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Musical

Naturalistic

Student Engagement Indicators - Make notes of overall impression of the lesson:

Students Given Choices

Give 1 to Get 1 activity gave students choices when deciding on which vocabulary terms to write out first.

Learning Put in Context

Students were able to relate new vocabulary terms to chapter problems.

Students working independently

Observation Checklist 4

1. Class Organization

How are students working?

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Students:

Game: Vocabulary Monday

Family Feud working alone working in pairs small groups whole class off task

2. Students level of skills

How students are relating to vocabulary usage

Time segments in minutes

Notes need help (more than 20% are unable to process) somewhat skilled (10-20% need some assistance from teacher) working independently (fewer than 10% need assistance from teacher

Learning Styles used

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Verbal/Linguistic

Less time spent on instructions

Visual/Spatial

Body/Kinesthetic

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Musical

Naturalistic

Student Engagement Indicators - Make notes of overall impression of the lesson:

Students Given Choices

Students were allowed to make choices about their teams when playing Vocabulary Monday - Family Feud. They were allowed to choice the order of answering questions.

Learning Put in Context

Students were able to work in teams. Team members were able to assist other students with new vocabulary terms.

Observation Checklist 5

1. Class Organization

How are students working?

Time segments in minutes

Notes

Students:

Third observation of new vocabulary terms… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Learning Styles and Student Achievement."  Essaytown.com.  July 18, 2007.  Accessed August 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/learning-styles-student-achievement/8189284.