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Accommodating various learning styles

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Personality dimensions assess the influences of basic personality on preferred approaches to acquiring and integrating information. Models stressing personality include Witkin's (1954) construct of field dependence/field independence and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers, 1978) with dichotomous scales measuring extroversion versus introversion, sensing versus intuition, thinking versus feeling, and judging versus perception. Learning style profile handbook: Accommodating perceptual, study and instructional preferences (Vol. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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Social interaction addresses how students interact in the classroom and includes Reichmann's and Grasha's (1974) types of learners: independent, dependent, collaborative, competitive, participant, and avoidant. In NASSP's Student learning styles: Diagnosing and prescribing programs (pp. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals. Increasingly, educational leaders are recognizing that the process of learning is critically important and understanding the way individuals learn is the key to educational improvement. The shortcomings of education in general have been addressed in "A Nation at Risk" (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) and "An Imperiled Generation: Saving Urban Schools" (Carnegie Foundation, 1988). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. Evidence abounds that the educational establishment in the United States is comparatively behind that of selected Western European and Asian nations in teaching youth the knowledge base and skills necessary to compete in a highly technical era. The challenge for our schools today is to assess the learning style characteristics of each student and to provide teaching and counseling interventions that are compatible with those characteristics. Multidimensional and instructional preference address the individual's preferred environment for learning and encompass the Human Information Processing Model (Keefe, 1989) and Learning Style Model of Dunn and Dunn (1978).

These models are similar because they stress the importance of identifying and addressing individual differences in the learning process.

However, there are important differences among the models in that some models stress accommodation of individual style preferences while others stress flexibility and adaptation, and there is a range of quality among the assessment instruments that operationalize the various models and lack of a research base for some of the models. Ann Arbor, MI: ERIC Counseling and Personnel Services Clearinghouse, The University of Michigan.

The counselor's role in learning styles is major--both as a consultant to teachers and as a provider of counseling services.

A comprehensive definition of learning style was adopted by a national task force, comprised of leading theorists in the field and sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

This group defined "learning styles" as the composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning environment (Keefe, 1979).

Included in this comprehensive definition are "cognitive styles," which are intrinsic information-processing patterns that represent a person's typical mode of perceiving, thinking, remembering, and problem-solving. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development.