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Thesis

Learning styles in the elementary classroom: Are students really that different?

16 December 1991

Abstract

Learning styles have been the topic of much discussion during the past decade. Study after study has been conducted in order to find out if learning styles exist, and what are the best ways to teach students with different styles. This study is different, however. In this study the following questions were asked: are learning styles observable at the elementary level; and, if so, what is done by the teacher in order to reach these different students? The purpose of this study is to answer these questions and to observe learning styles in two elementary classrooms. This is a qualitative study based upon eight weeks of classroom observation. The classrooms of a first grade and a fifth grade were observed. Formal interviews with each of the teachers were also conducted along with various informal interviews and assessments of students. The results of this study suggest that learning styles do exist, and that some students needs are being met. Findings indicate that some teachers may be aware of students' styles of learning, but others are not. Findings also suggest that when students are taught in a way that is in tune with their style, then learning is much improved.


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