As a middle school teacher, it is imperative I am aware of the learning styles of my students. I must also be aware of my own learning style and its role in influencing the way I teach. Bowling coaches and bowlers who are interested in improving will also benefit greatly by becoming aware of the different styles of learning.
There are three distinct learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. To put it very simply, visual learners learn by seeing, auditory learners learn by hearing, and kinesthetic learners learn by doing. In the fifties and sixties, the great majority of learners were visual or auditory. Kinesthetic learners comprised a very small percentage of learners in the school community. As a result, teachers taught by lecturing with the occasional use of visual aids to help students grasp difficult concepts. By the 1980s, the percentage of auditory learners had decreased to between 20 and 30 percent, visual learners were at about 40 percent, and 30 to 40 percent of learners had become kinesthetic (Carbo et al., 1986).
For the past couple of years, one of my colleagues and I have our students take a learning styles test to determine their dominant learning style. The results have been remarkably consistent from class to class. Today, 50 to 60 percent of our students are kinesthetic learners, 30 to 40 percent are visual learners, and only 10 percent are auditory learners. One can only speculate that this shift in learning styles is due to children who are being provided with kinesthetic forms of entertainment (video games, etc.), from a very young age. This information is extremely valuable for planning and differentiating our instruction for middle school adolescents and it can be equally as valuable for bowling coaches and their students.
To demonstrate to my students each year how their learning styles and individual thought patterns affect the way they study and learn, I do this exercise in each of my classes. I put 16 seemingly random words on the board: chair, red, blue, computer, cell phone, apple, cherry, desk, student, orange, video game, teacher, banana, yellow, MP3 player, and green. I cover the words and tell the students that I will uncover them for two minutes during which time they are to memorize them in any way they can. After two minutes I re-cover the words and tell them to clear their desks of everything but a piece of blank paper and a pencil. They then ...
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