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No two snowflakes exactly alike: How culture effects students' learning styles

1 December 1993


Research suggests that children are acculturated at a very young age (Educational Research Service 1991) and that their cultural experiences mold their learning style (Diaz 1992). Students with diminished school performances can improve if their classroom is culturally compatible and they are instructed in ways that are adapted towards their preferred learning style (Tharp 1989, Dunn and Griggs 1988). This qualitative study examines the effects of culture on the learning styles of a group of first/ second mixed age and third grade students from different cultural backgrounds, determines the learning styles of the students, and compares their scholastic achievement to that of students from the majorityculture. This analytical paper also seeks to answer the questions: Is the classroom culturally compatible? What is learning style? What teaching methods address culture and learning styles? The results support the theory that some students are not reaching their full potential because their preferred learning styles are not being adapted to in instruction. Further analysis concludes though that the school and the students' teachers are culturally aware. The study advises teachers to: know their own learning style, use a variety of assessment tools to determine the styles of their students, and talk with the students families or members of the community to gain additional insight. Learning · style models of Dunn, Reiff, and McCarthy are given to provide a foundation for analysis and accommodation of styles.


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