Brian Mueller-Blog #5

http://yvonnewalus.blogspot.com/

Learning Styles and Homework Myths

(To analyse your child's learning style, have a look at this free online demo.)

Myth 1: Don't agree to having the TV or music playing while your child is doing his or her homework. It's nothing but distracting and teaches a habit that will be hard to break.

Truth 1: Research shows that many students think and remember best when studying with background music. Furthermore, 20% of an elementary population in a research study scored significantly higher when reading in a noisy environment.

Myth 2: Use folders, small boxes, manila folders or other types of stationery for storing school work, both past and present. This will teach a life long habit that makes achieving set goals so much easier.

Truth 2: Yes, being organised is a wonderful habit to have. However, a child whose information processing is global, will feel distressed or even threatened by a neat work area. Such children draw comfort from a less tidy and less structured homework environment and will find it impossible to function at an organised desk. And, speaking of desks....

Myth 3: Children learn best when sitting upright at a desk.

Truth 3: Sitting upright on a firm chair puts most of your weight on a very small part of your body. Many children (and adults) find it distracting to maintain such a body position for any length of time. Speaking from a learning style point of view, many learners need to sit in a less formal environment (floor, bed, sofa) in order to concentrate better, or concentrate at all. Which leads us to sitting....

Myth 4: Students who do not sit still are not ready to learn.
Truth 4: Many students need mobility when they learn because of their learning style requirements. An American study revealed that half of one school's seven grade students needed extensive mobility while learning. When they were allowed to move from one instructional area to another while learning new information, they achieved statistically better than when they had to remain seated. Most students who are actively involved are likely to learn more, pay closer attention, and achieve higher test marks.

Myth 5: Students learn best in well-lit areas and damage their eyes when they read and work in low light.

Truth 5: Research shows that many students perform significantly better in low light environments, because bright light makes them restless, fidgety and hyperactive. Low light calms these youngsters down and helps them relax and think clearly. The younger children are, the less light they seem to need! They only need that amount of light for reading in which they feel comfortable, but their need for light seems to increase every five years.

(Does your child need bright light to do her homework? Find out here.)

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Some of these myths/truths are a bit surprising to me but after thinking those through they seem to make sense. The first myth I found surprising was number five. It seems important to have enough light in a classroom so students can see the chalkboard and other reading materials clearly. But after thinking back to my days in grammar school I can remember being more relaxed in classrooms that had low light, I was actually able to concentrate better on the subject at hand and didn't find it that hard to read material.

The myth's I found to make the most sense were number three and four. I understand why teachers and parents would want their children to sit up straight so they won't damage their backs but the chairs most children sit in are very uncomfortable, which leads to slouching and fidgeting. If classrooms made desks were more student friendly students would be able to become more relaxed and able to concentrate on the task at hand.

Most of the myths/truths you brought up in this article are all experiences I had during school. When I become a teacher I will certainly try to implement some of the positive research about learning styles into my classroom. It's important to try and make all students comfortable in the classroom in order to get the most out of them and so that they can get the most out of the class.

Brian Mueller

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