NPR recently aired a study entitled Think You’re An Auditory Or Visual Learner? Scientists Say It’s Unlikely in which psychologist Doug Rohrer from the University of South Florida claimed that there was no scientific evidence supporting the commonly-held belief that individuals can be classified as visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. Wow, what an uproar! Hundreds of professionals, parents and teachers responded to this article with a variety of strongly worded opinions.
However, the article also quotes Dan Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, who emphasizes that it is important for teachers to instruct with each of the different learning styles in mind, “mixing things up” in order to maximize attention span.
Dr. Willingham’s philosophy is a concept that is very familiar to the staff at Thinking Organized™. The third “building block” of effective executive functioning in Rhona Gordon’s book and practice is “learning styles.” She has long maintained that no one is strictly a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner. In fact, to be a good student, it is necessary for an auditory learner to take notes from a text book, or a visual learn to listen to a lecture. While a student may have one learning style that he or she prefers, it is very important for parents and teachers to encourage the child to practice a variety of methods for understanding, organizing and remembering information.
But we’d like to know what you think? Are learning styles a valid and proven method for inputting information in the most efficient way possible, or do you believe that, like Dr. Rohrer states, “until such [scientific] evidence exists, they shouldn’t be used”? Click here to give us your thoughts on this on-going debate.