Personality Quiz Type Assessments

You know the ones I mean: fill out this short questionnaire and we’ll tell you whether you like to learn by listening, doing, while standing on your head or while punching your best friend in the leg under the table. The most popular of those is VAK, or visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, i.e. students are supposed to prefer receiving information in one of those ways.

You have to include all three somewhere in your lesson. Even more so, you have to weight the amount of those in your lesson according to how many of each type of learner you have in that particular class. And that’s just one of the theories: the more pop quizzes you can get your class to take and the more you pander to their results, then the better.

It’s a similar argument to personalised learning: how is all of this supposed to be included all the time for everything that has got to be learned in the time of just one lesson? What if I say something that comes up in part of the lesson, but it’s not written on the handouts I prepared beforehand, so only the auditory learners learn it?

A lot of them contradict each other as well. For example, in the above learning styles example, all are considered different ways of learning the same thing, and are equal. But the learning pyramid theory states that you only retain 10% of what you read, 5% of what you hear and 75% of what you practice doing. So do you include more kinaesthetic activities in your lesson because more of it is retained, or more listening activities because your class profile says that’s what this particular class prefers?

It’s so faddy, and because of that there are constantly new theories emerging that need to be incorporated into lesson plans, meaning a constant redesigning of the schemes of work. Think of what all of that time and effort could be spent on instead.

Do you believe that learning styles and other theories shape your teaching to good effect?
Read the full series: Top Ten Things That Are Bullshit In Teaching
Similar post: Things I Wish Were Different About Teaching: Number 1 No faddy things that need to be evidenced in planning


Fred Tracy said...

Hmm I think I learned best visually. Stuff that I read I tend to retain. Stuff that I hear goes straight out my ears!

I never knew teaching can be so complicated until I read this blog. You guys have a lot of stuff to consider.

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