Sunday, April 17, 2011

Examining Learning Styles

Global vs Analytical Learners
While many of us are familiar with auditory, visual, and tactile learners, we will be concentrating on a different classification of learning styles called global and analytical learners and the reason for this is simple: Through research, it has been shown that global learners have higher levels of math anxiety than analytical learners (Gresham, December 2007). 
Global learners can also be referred to as holistic.  They like to look at the whole picture, work in groups and enjoy noise or music in the background while working. Analytical learners on the other hand like information to be presented in sequential steps.  They prefer to work alone in a quiet atmosphere and enjoy step-by-step instructions.  Instead of looking at the whole, like global learners, analytical learners like to look at each part individually.
Gresham (2007) has concluded that there is a link between global learners and math anxiety which will be included on slide 25.  The problem global learners experience is that it takes them quite a while before they can see how the bits and pieces of information fit into the greater scheme of things. Without grasping the entire picture, the small bits of information seem senseless to them.  They may struggle with new concepts, homework, and problem solving.  Math textbooks are generally set up for analytical learners.  They are set up in a sequential order, as are many lectures, lesson plans, syllabi, and math curricula.  Being aware of learning styles and how they impact math anxiety can lead to a preservice teacher improving their effectiveness of the methods they use to teach mathematics in their classroom (Gresham, December 2007).  
How to teach math to global learners
  • Skim the chapter first
  • Relate content to students’ lives
  • Teach with humour and color
  • Incorporate pictures and graphics
  • Be patient
  • Allow global learners extra time to synthesize and connect to the information.    
 Global learners have the potential to be very creative because they can take large leaps and apply what they have learned to other areas.  

What kind of learner are you? 

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