The learning styles message arrives within a context of what is best for the class and not what is best for any one student who happens to be good at doing worksheets and who thinks that – just because they dominate their other classes because they are good memorizers – they get to dominate your class as well.
That is a very poor message to send to students about life, that only certain kinds of people get to win. And yet it is a message that some teachers send out on a daily basis to our students, in subtle and less subtle ways. The diversity and inclusion and belonging piece is the subject of another book, however.
As the kids listen and start to make sense out of this activity, what happens? Your students get to know each other. Kids whose learning style conflicts with the auditory learning you do in your classroom start to understand things better.
They are learning that the class is about listening, and since in schools this knowledge is probably new to them – that people don’t all learn in the same visual way – they begin to see a valid need for adjusting how they learn to your teaching style of using CI.
The result is that you get to know your students better, and they get to know each other and themselves as students better. The entire process builds trust in the classroom and brings increased student engagement.
We can always get to know our kids better. They are so good at hiding behind their faces. But by devoting those few classes to the Learning Styles Inventory towards the beginning of the year, things change.
An interesting and unmistakable result of doing the inventories is that our instruction seems to bring more trust into our instruction. This seems to happen after we do the inventory. I think it’s a result of having just spoken , in a positive way so openly about how different students learn in different ways.