Have you VARKED your Business?: Using Learning Styles to Improve Communication and Performance.
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This book, first published in October 2011, outlines the ways in which you can use VARK in your workplace. There are numerous practical examples and applications that will give you a full understanding of VARK principles.
Some Chapter headings: Age and communication preferences, Communicating with your staff, What do advertisers and marketers know about learners?, When marketers want to understand customers?, Allocating tasks to staff and teams, Meeting behaviors, Learning about retail customers, Appointing the right person, Do some employees learn only from doing?, Making your case for promotion, What training works best?
This book is the culmination of 40 years of teaching, from my beginning as a graduate from Christchurch Teachers College, New Zealand, to an active retirement as a workshop presenter of workshops on teaching and learning in North America, the Caribbean,Asia and Europe.
Of course, no one is born a teacher. Some claim there are personality characteristics and behavioral traits that may help, and excellent role models and mentors can help. More to the point of this book, is the fact that a group of practical skills can greatly enhance your teaching.
My expertise came from a unique opportunity. I was appointed as an inspector of schools, which meant I watched others teach and students learn. From these observations, I prepared reports on the quality of teaching and learning. That was a daunting task but after nine years and having watched an estimated 9,000 lessons in classrooms I was able to put this experience to work. In the next 11 years I taught and worked with teachers and students at Lincoln University in the South Island of New Zealand.
The ideas in this book are not newly found. They are my collection of the simple and complex ideas that make up the skills of an expert teacher. By “expert,” I mean someone who can still identify with the struggles of novice learners and beginning teachers.
As a working thesis for best practice, I believe that it is possible for all who want to learn, to do so. Success is a matter of choosing the ways that best suit your learning. In a similar vein, all who appreciate and enjoy other people can become effective teachers.
There is nothing more rewarding than to see the glimmer of understanding-the “Ahas”-in your students. To see these more often, we have to become learners ourselves and follow French physiologist, Henri Foubert’s dictum: “To teach is to learn – twice.” When we understand something well enough to teach it, we can claim to really know it.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
None of these strategies (each one fits on a page) will meet the learning needs of all your students, or any student, all the time. The diversity in student preferences for learning is an important dimension of teaching, and should be respected. The research into modal preferences in the two books, “How do I learn best? A student’s guide to improved learning” and, “Teaching and Learning Styles: VARK Strategies”, clearly indicates that there are no universals on how students learn. Use the techniques in this book and watch how your students react. Some will enjoy them; others will not. Only students know how they learn.
It is not necessary to read this book from cover to cover. If there is a theme, it is – teaching has to be about learning- otherwise, there is only talking.Beginning teachers are invited to turn the pages and find items that are within their capability and that suit their circumstances. Those who are more experienced can fine-tune their skills by reading some pages and adjusting already excellent skills to reach even more students. No single page will make a huge difference, but the skills on many pages have the potential to make better teachers.
Charles Bonwell and Neil Fleming completed this book to support the VARK questionnaire and its learning strategies. As well as chapters about each of the single and multiple modalities of VARK there are comments from those with strong preferences and recent data from the collection of questionnaire results on the website. The book is produced for students and highlights the strategies they might use for their learning.
How Do I Learn Best? is available as both a PDF and an EPUB download (you will have the choice of which to download once you have completed your purchase).
Development or Safety First – Stretching or Matching
VARK provides students with an indication of their preferences for learning and as such it will indicate stronger and weaker preferences. It would be wonderful if students could explore their weaker preferences and enhance them by using all the VARK strategies associated with them. A student with a strong Read/Write preference might learn to use Visualstrategies for note-taking or expressing his/her learning. Or, a student with a strong Visualpreference might attend a course to assist with Kinestheticways of taking information in or for expressing it. Indeed, there are a number of such courses available in most communities. For example, there are usually seminars and workshops for developing mind-mapping skills or creative writing or improving reading comprehension or accelerated learning.
But there is at least one point on which students and faculty differ. For most students there are stressful tests and examinations where they are expected to indicate how much they have learned. For faculty there are fewer stress times in their lives because of their prior experience and learning. This has a significant effect on whether VARK can be used for the development of new skills or the reinforcement of older ones. While some students seek opportunities to learn new strategies at every opportunity that is not general. Many students in higher education are at critical points in their search for employment, or partners, or self-esteem, and they often cling to the strategies and preferences that they have, rather than extending themselves into unknown areas. For them it is often a matter of staying with what they know best, despite some professors urging them, to expand their repertoire.
The Absence of a Visual Preference (An example from the text in the book).
So your results show an absence (a zero score) on the Visual (V) preference dimension!
“You may have some distrust of graphs and diagrams and anything that relies on symbolism. You don’t always share the same meaning of these symbols as others do. An arrow representing a flow may mean something quite different to you. The placement of words on a page has little added meaning and things like layout and style are not as important as they are to some others. You may have difficulty understanding why others place so much importance on trivial things like fonts and formats and layouts. You probably get lost trying to find your way to other places and you may have little memory for the surroundings in a room, an auditorium or a house. You might prefer not to use a map to find your way. Remembering what people wear or what they look like is probably not a strong point for you. Who cares about merely pictures! Just because it is on a screen does not make something suitable for a student with a Visual preference.“
The book is based on the idea that coaching athletes and players closely resembles the learning that happens throughout life. Learning is often narrowly associated with schools, universities and classrooms but learning occurs throughout life and is a part of most people’s day. This book marries the two fields of learning and coaching with easy-to-follow explanations and practical examples. The authors have borrowed from the “best practice” of those with whom they have worked.
This book has been written to take coaches to the next stage of understanding the connections between learning and coaching. It has benefited from a number of seminars and workshops that were offered over the past five years. The authors have had access to elite professional coaches and elite (national and international) individuals and teams as well as some fully professional teams and organisations.
Coaches and athletes prefer an active style of communication rather than something dense with theory. For that reason we have placed anecdotes, stories, newspaper clippings and examples throughout the text. These should be read with the text as they help to explain the points that are being made.
The book is available as a PDF that you can download immediately after payment. Leave your computer running or it won’t know where to go!
by Neil D Fleming.
Available as a PDF or EPUB download
This is a book written to support teachers, trainers and coaches who are using or intending to use VARK.
The book backgrounds the development of the VARK Questionnaire and the strategies that should be used by trainers, tutors, teachers and coaches to cope with the differences in learning among their students. Successful strategies are documented and there are case studies and techniques to explain how to match the students’ needs for variety in presentations. Teachers, trainers and students will benefit from chapters on the differences between V, A, R and K and there are descriptions of research projects that are useful for those who are interested in the field of learning preferences. The book has ample illustrations and practises what it preaches.
VARK Strategies is the newly updated and re-titled version of what was previously called “Teaching and Learning Styles – VARK Strategies”.
The chapters cover:
What is VARK?
Teachers and their VARK characteristics
Implications for teaching
The development of VARK
The research basis
Links to some other systems
Understanding visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic and multimodal preferences
Issues and caution
A full bibliography and the research basis for VARK are included.
The book is available as both a PDF and an EPUB download (you will have the choice of which to download once you have completed your purchase).