How often have you heard yourself saying to your children: “How many times do I have to tell you this?” or “What did I just say? Didn’t you hear what I just said?” The fact is, they probably did hear the words you said but didn’t understand what you meant or didn’t internalize the content enough to make a change.
We cannot forget that each of us takes in information in a different way. In the world of teaching there is an understanding that humans have different learning styles. Thus, if we expect someone to learn something; rather, change in a sense, then we need to teach them in the way they understand.
Cynthia Tobias in the book The Way They Learn expounds upon Gregroc’s Mind Style Models. According to the theory presented there are two views of our minds’ processing and learning information. The first is how we perceive information and the second is how we order information.
Perception: The Way We Take In Information
We know people are not all alike. What we don’t always realize is that each of us tends to view the world in a way that makes the most sense to us as individuals. The way in which we view the world is called our perception. Perceptions shape what we think, how we make decisions, and how we define what’s important to us. Our individual perceptions also determine our natural learning strengths, or learning styles. (p.10, Tobias, 1994)
Ordering: Using What We Know Ordering
The Way We Use the Information We Perceive Once we’ve taken the information in, we all use two methods of ordering what we know. According to Gregorc, the two ordering abilities are either sequentially and randomly. (p.12 Tobias, 1994)
When we take all of Gregorc’s definitions and put them together, we get four combinations of the perceptual and ordering abilities that people have. Remember, no individual is only one style. It is important to understand that each of us has a dominant style or styles that give us a unique blend of natural strengths and abilities. As a follower of Christi, I would also contend that we are also given spiritual gifting that aids our natural ability to ensure that we can do our job of sharing the gospel.
Learning styles are derived from from the perception and ordering abilities as described by Gregorc.
The image above demonstrates these four learning styles. By learning some of the common characteristics of each of these combinations (CS, AS, AR, CR), we can recognize and better help the student flourish in the classroom and at home. As the learner, we can also learn to identify and improve characteristics that we avoid because we do not understand them well. Isn’t it better to understand the way God has designed us to perceive, order, and learn? There are sites and links that can help you determine your bent.