Is it cruel to allow or teach (or sometimes force) our students to adapt to other learning styles other than their own? There is too much emphasis on how teachers should adapt their lessons according to the learning styles of the students. I understand that really. However, we may miss the point that we also need to teach our students to be adaptive to their environment. In real life, our students will find workplaces that will not “bend” for them.
The post below is taken from Eira Claudine Hilario’s response to Lovely Andres’ query on “Is it always the teacher who should adapt her teaching approach to the different learning styles of her students?” Eira’s post struck me as something ideal and should be adapted inside all classrooms. However, not all classroom setting is as conducive to this approach as her own class. But still, she gave me something to start with. Thanks Eira for sharing this experience with us. 🙂
Lovely Andres’ question:
I would just like to share my experience with you, as I teach in a private preschool that promotes learning through play. We are a progressive school, and we put priority in finding how a child learns best and then work from there. We work towards learning skills that they will need in the future. Take note that we have a low teacher-student ratio, and this might one of the reasons why we are able to do what we do.
Since we are a preschool, most children would prefer to play, but there are also some young ones who excel in doing worksheets or more traditional activities. With the recognition of each child’s preference and skills, we can better inform their parents as to which kind of “big school” they would benefit from the most (traditional, montessori, etc.)
All of the children in one classroom are supposed to go through all activities prepared based on the curriculum set by the teachers. Unless doing an activity will be harmful to them (allergic to the material, for example), they have to do it one way or another. We also help them become more adaptable to different envirnoments, and personally, I find that one of my main goals for these children is to make them more well-rounded individuals. Instead of just letting them be good at and enjoy one thing, I challenge them to work on other activities that they would not choose by themselves (and more often than not, this results in a lot of crying the first few times).
As learning styles can change over time, I believe one big task for a teacher is to make sure that his/her students are equally exposed to the different learning styles that may be benefitial for them. This way, they might figure out their preferences and how they learn best. I do agree that in real life, not everything will “bend” for them, and we teach this even in preschool. Simply put, we teach them that they cannot always get what they want, but we’ll help them figure out what they need.
Again, I would like to point out that I work with very young children, in a non-traditional setting, and my experience is might be different from those who work in a more traditional setting.
I hope what I shared answered some of your queries.