Learning Styles VS. Learning Strategies
Broadly speaking, learning styles can be defined as general approaches to language learning, while learning strategies are specific ways learners choose to cope with language tasks in particular contexts.
Learning strategies are the ways in which students learn, remember information, and study for tests. They refer to the actions and behaviors (The strategies) that depend greatly on their own learning styles.
On the other hand, learning styles refer to the general approaches that students use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject.
Each student has his/her own style of learning. As a result, we have different students with different learning styles inside the classroom as shown below:
1. Visual or Spatial Learners
Visual learners need to see things to fully understand them. They learn best from visual objects such as diagrams, charts, etc. They prefer to write things down.
2. Auditory or Musical Learners
They learn mainly through listening so they learn best through discussions and talking. They benefit most from reading texts aloud and using a tape recorder.
3. Physical or Kinesthetic or Tactile Learners
Learners here learn through using their bodies, hands, and sense of touch. They can use their muscles well so they can be used in playing, tidying, cleaning the board, collecting activity books, etc. They learn best through using their hands making things, fitting things together, or taking them apart so hands-on activities are ideal to help those students learn best.
4. Social or Interpersonal Learners
They prefer to learn in groups or with other people. They have the ability to understand others’ feelings and intentions.
5. Solitary or Intrapersonal Learners
Here, students prefer to work alone and use self-study. They have the ability to understand well their own feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. They tend to write a personal diary, achieve independent projects, discuss feelings about certain topics, express likes, and dislikes, etc.
6. Verbal or Linguistic Learners
They prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
7. Logical or Mathematical
They prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
Many students use learning strategies automatically without any awareness of them. The role of teachers here is to:
- Recognize their students’ learning strategies,
- Make them explicit to students, bring them to their attention, and talk about them.
- Encourage students to use them in the classroom
- Make them more effective to the learning process,
- Base teaching process and techniques on these strategies.
Students use the following learning strategies most often when learning a language:
1. Cognitive Strategies
When they manipulate the language material using indirect ways, e.g. through reasoning, analysis, note-taking, and synthesizing.
2. Metacognitive Strategies
When they identify preferences and the need for planning, monitoring mistakes, and evaluating task success.
3. Memory-Related Strategies
When they link one item or concept with another but do not necessarily involve deep understanding, e.g. using acronyms, sound similarities, images, keywords.
4. Compensatory Strategies
When they make up for missing knowledge using gestures, miming, or guessing the meaning from the context.
5. Affective Strategies
When they manage their emotions by identifying their mood and anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding themselves, and using deep breathing or positive self-talk.
6. Social Strategies
When they learn via interaction with others and understand the target culture, e.g. asking questions, asking for clarification, asking for conversation help, talking with a native-speaking partner, and exploring cultural and social norms.
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