Learning styles are general approaches that students use when learning a new language or other subject. These models give a general direction to learning processes.
There are many factors that affect students' learning styles. In the following, I will talk about Sensory Preferences and Personality Types, which are 2 different factors that affect students' learning styles.
Sensory Preferences are physical and perceptual ways of learning. The student creates the learning style that he / she feels most comfortable with. There are 4 Main Sensory areas:
These students love to read and learn a lot from visual stimuli.
Visual learners prefer lectures, conversations or verbal instructions supported by any visual.
Stimulus that is not visual can be quite confusing for these students.
Students who learn by auditory feel comfortable even if there is no visual input and they enjoy and benefit from lectures, speeches and verbal directions.
They like role-play activities, games, and similar activities that include classroom interactions.
These students may have difficulty in writing from time to time.
-Kinesthetic and Tactile Students
Kinesthetic and Tactile students enjoy moving around in the classroom and working with concrete objects, collages and flashcards.
Sitting at a desk for too long is not suitable for them; They prefer to take frequent breaks and be on the move.
Another factor that is effective in creating the learning styles that students have is personality types. Students' personality traits affect their learning styles.
According to researchers, a number of important relationships have been found between an individual's personality type and learning style.
In this section, I will discuss 4 dimensions of personality types.
1. Extraverted vs. Introverted
2. Intuitive-random vs. Sensing-sequential
3. Thinking vs. Feeling
4. Closure-oriented/judging vs. Open/perceiving
Extraverted vs. Introverted
The energy source for extroverted students is the outside world. They want and enjoy interacting with people and making lots of friends. Introverted students take their energy from their inner world. They enjoy solitude and tend to only have a few friends.
Extroverted students and introverted students can learn to work together with the help of the teacher. In this regard, setting time limits in the language class can keep extroverted students' extrovert energies at a manageable level.
Intuitive-random vs. Sensing-sequential
Intuitive-random students think in abstract, futuristic, large-scale, and non-sequential ways. They like to create theories and new possibilities, often have instant insights and prefer to guide their own learning.
Sensing-sequential students, on the other hand, focus on present and are focused on “now”. They love facts more than theories, and they seek guidance and specific instruction from the teacher. These students seek consistency in the learning environment.
A suitable learning environment can be created for both Intuitive-random and Sensing-sequential students. The key to achieving this is to provide students with variety and choice.
Thinking vs. Feeling
Thinking (logical) learners are fact-oriented and analytics. They like to look competent and do not tend to offer praise.
Feeling students, on the other hand, often show empathy and compassion, and they make this visible not only by their actions but also by their words.
Closure-oriented/judging vs. Open/perceiving
Closure-oriented students want to complete tasks and processes quickly and expect feedback as soon as possible. These students are serious and care about studying. They prefer to be given more written information and enjoy certain tasks with deadlines.
Unlike closure-oriented students, open / perceiving students see the language learning process as a game to be enjoyed rather than a set of tasks to be completed and take it less seriously.
Students with two personality types can also achieve a good balance within the same classroom. If teachers consciously form collaborative groups that include both types of students, these students can benefit from collaboration with each other.
Observing your students carefully and discovering what learning style they have is very important for the effectiveness of the language learning process.