Cultural Information

American schools are becoming more and more diverse, it is something that can not be ignored. Culture influences the way we learn and it should be taken into account.

As the student population in American schools becomes increasingly diverse, educators must respond with school reform efforts that meet the needs of all students. They must develop culturally sensitive curricula that integrate multicultural viewpoints and histories, apply instructional strategies that encourage all students to achieve, and review school and district policies related to educational equity. Teacher education programs in particular are responsible for preparing future teachers to promote meaningful, engaged learning for all students, regardless of their race, gender, ethnic heritage, or cultural background.

The concept of learning styles is rooted in the classification of psychological types. The learning styles theory is based on research demonstrating that, as the result of heredity, upbringing, and current environmental demands, different individuals have a tendency to both perceive and process information differently. The different ways of doing so are generally classified as:

1. Concrete and abstract perceivers--Concrete perceivers absorb information through direct experience, by doing, acting, sensing, and feeling. Abstract perceivers, however, take in information through analysis, observation, and thinking.

2. Active and reflective processors--Active processors make sense of an experience by immediately using the new information. Reflective processors make sense of an experience by reflecting on and thinking about it.

Traditional schooling tends to favor abstract perceiving and reflective processing. Other kinds of learning aren't rewarded and reflected in curriculum, instruction, and assessment nearly as much.

How the Learning Styles Theory Impacts Education

Curriculum--Educators must place emphasis on intuition, feeling, sensing, and imagination, in addition to the traditional skills of analysis, reason, and sequential problem solving.

Instruction--Teachers should design their instruction methods to connect with all four learning styles, using various combinations of experience, reflection, conceptualization, and experimentation. Instructors can introduce a wide variety of experiential elements into the classroom, such as sound, music, visuals, movement, experience, and even talking.

Assessment--Teachers should employ a variety of assessment techniques, focusing on the development of "whole brain" capacity and each of the different learning styles.

Resources on Cultural Information