Did you know that only 54% of Canadians aged 25 and up, hold college or university qualifications? (Statistics Canada 2016) This is lower than the United States estimated number of degree holders by the year 2025. The reason for the low graduation rates can be attributed to the poor implementation of student-centered learning and practices. Something of great interest among researchers is the relationship between student learning preferences and teaching styles. Ways that this is being studied in classrooms is by varying teaching, learning, and assessment techniques. However, not all strategies will work for all students, and trouble begins when there is a disconnect between a student’s learning style and the teacher’s teaching style. So, the main question is: would students be more successful if students were matched to their instructor’s teaching strengths?
Incompatibility between learning styles and teaching preferences is typically what leads to low student engagement, boredom, discouragement, poor test performance, low motivation, shattered self-esteem, and decisions to quit school or programs. This is a problem across all disciplines whether it be math, English, or science, some teachers and students will not be able to adapt to each other’s learning and teaching styles. The concept of teaching and learning matching is that it impacts learning in a way that encourages students to respond more positively to instructional methods while informing faculty about effective teaching practices. This encourages collaboration between the teacher and student which in turn reduces classroom management issues.
Recent research has shown that it is not as effective for a teacher to change their teaching preferences to suit the students in their classroom because they may not be as comfortable teaching in that manner. A researcher (Zeeb, 2004) stated that teachers teach the way they have learned because it is the way it makes the most sense in their minds so everyone else should be able to understand as well. As a teacher, this is a hard notion to overcome, and pushing an educator to change their methods could result in an awkward lesson. However, there is a clear relationship between student success and consideration of learning styles. Learners should be aware of their learning preferences and how to maximize their learning based on these preferences. Students must be self-aware of the support they need and must know how to self-advocate for the resources they feel they need to succeed. This in turn would lead to higher academic self-confidence leading to better success and graduation rates.
Currently, there are no technological systems that encourage student-teacher matching except for the internet which is unreliable as some students and teachers can leave bad reviews based on a short time frame. A system called Connect for Success is being developed to encourage educators, parents, and students to share their learning and teaching preferences to better be matched within classrooms. This technology is in its early stages.
However, at Oak Learners, we attempt to match students with teachers they can relate to. With a student-centered approach, students are encouraged to learn about their own learning styles and what supports are available, and what they need to succeed.
If you’re interested, Oak Learners has a great day school and tutoring options. You can check out the day school where students learn all kinds of skills and build on them with personalized study habits. If you want personalized one on one tutoring online or in-person sessions as well, Oak Learners offers private tutoring here! Good luck with studying!
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