Teaching to Learners of all Styles

Teaching to Learners of all Styles

Getting ready for the bi-monthly webinar on Teaching to Learners of all Styles with Marjorie Rosenberg on January 11, 2015. The event is organized by the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) Young Learners and Teens Special Interest Group (YLTSIG). The webinar is completely free and is available without any sign up on WizIQ. Just click and enrol right now: http://iateflyltsig.wiziq.com/online-class/2144602-ylt-webinars-teaching-to-learners-of-all-styles

IATEFL YLT SIG Bi-Monthly Webinars

IATEFL YLTSIG provides a forum for ELT professionals involved in the language education of 3-17 year olds. The community consists of 1200 individual and institutional teachers, teacher educators, lecturers, policy makers, publishers and textbook writers around the world. All benefit from our online and offline interactions, international events, publications and resources. Learn more about IATEFL and YLTSIG . YLTSIG organizes 2 webinars a month on topics related to young learners and other education topics. Please contact Nellie Deutsch if you’re interested in presenting at the webinars in 2015.

Webinar on Teaching to Learners of All Styles

Have you ever wondered what makes your students tick? Part of the secret may well be their individual learning styles. The webinar will begin with the concept of learning styles and examine what they are as well as what they are not. Participants will then move on to three specific models including examples of both learner and teacher characteristics. Participants will be encouraged to think about their own styles and the impact this has on their teaching.

Marjorie Rosenberg

The speaker of the upcoming IATEFL YLT SIG bi-monthly webinar is Marjorie Rosenberg, an instructor of English at the University of Graz and trains teachers for a variety of classroom situations. Marjorie Rosenberg is an NLP trainer and has worked extensively in the field of learning styles, NLP, and cooperative learning and was involved in a project by the Ministry of Education to enable primary school teachers to teach a number of their subjects in English. In addition to writing course books for the Austrian schools, she has published ‘Spotlight on Learning Styles’ with Delta Publishing. Marjorie is currently the IATEFL BESIG Coordinator and a member of the Membership Committee of IATEFL and will soon be standing down from these positions to take on the Vice-Presidency of IATEFL in mid-January and the Presidency in April 2015.

Marjorie Rosenberg and Teaching to Learners of All Styles

Teaching to Learners of all Styles at Traditional Schools

When I think of learning, I do not think of school. I think of reading a book in a library, listening to audible (recordings of books) in the car, or sitting in the garden with a book or an iPad. I do not think of school. My learning styles involve out of the classroom experiences.

School Curriculum and Learning

Schools are complex organizations with a top-down management system that aims to promote learning. Every school has a written curriculum that binds all the stakeholders of the school. However, a school curriculum may have more in it than meets the eye.

Information for ALL

Society is continually changing as a result of the fast moving pace of technology. The Internet is now a major provider of information. Information is now available at the click of a finger. Teachers are no longer the sole providers of knowledge and  information. Learning is no longer limited to space or time. Learning can take place online at any time or from any location. Schools may lose their place unless they advance with the times. They do not need to mirror an outdated social structure. They can now integrate technology and open their doors to new and more challenging curriculums.

School Curriculum

A school curriculum is an organized framework that guides teachers and students in the required learning. It is similar to a contract between society, the state and educational professionals with regard to the educational experiences that learners should undergo during a certain phase of their lives. Both the school and the community have a say in the development of the written and unwritten or hidden school curriculum.

Hidden Curriculum

There are differences between written and hidden curriculums. Teachers teach and students learn implicit concepts and patterns. Some of these are written in the curriculum while others are not. Teachers may not be as aware as their students that they are transmitting unwritten or hidden curriculum ideas. Students may sense it much faster because some of these ideas force the students to behave in ways they do not always like. Students learn quickly that they have to conform to the rules of the school if they want approval.

Hidden Curricula serve a purpose:

  • Indoctrination to maintain social status
  • Set the stage for formal education
  • Rules to complete formal education

Students acquire these and other hidden ideas while attending school. Many schools promote social norms and values that such as being punctual, competitive, waiting one’s turn, learning to accept hierarchy of authority, patience and other goals and functions of  society.

School promoted socializing codes of behavior may adversely affect students. Teachers convey many messages to learners from the outset of school. Some kindergarten teachers go as far as to control the children’s behavior and perception of the world in negative and often inappropriate ways. Apparently, youngsters adjust their emotional responses to conform to those considered appropriate by the teacher and school . Youngsters do not always feel at ease with being quiet and not being able to express their feelings. The hidden curriculum sometimes determines limitations to student behaviour in the classroom that may hinder learning.

On the one hand, the hidden curriculum may limit teachers’ instruction because it forces them to teach students how to behave in ways that may not enhance learning instead of devoting time to content and other skills that could facilitate life long learning. This takes time away from the written curriculum’s plan for learning. In addition, teachers do not always feel comfortable instructing students on socialization. They feel that these are things parents should be doing at home.

Accountability for Education

Being accountable to many stakeholders such as students, parents, the administration, supervisors and principals who have needs, expectations, philosophies, motivation, and unique self-concepts can facilitate instruction and learning. Teachers should consider the stakeholders involved in the student’s lives and how they impact student learning. By having the whole student in mind, teachers can help build a learning environment that facilitates learning.

Accounting for the needs, expectations, philosophies and self-concepts of all the stakeholders is a tough task. Teachers need to find the right style of instruction to satisfy their students and their parents. They can utilize a needs assessment questionnaire to help find a common denominator. This is a good way for teachers to show that they care and increase motivation. Students claim that consideration of their feelings and needs has brought them closer to their teacher and to learning.

Experiencing Information at School

There are other factors such as student’s preferred way of dealing with the content, learning groups, bias, and students with special needs that impact instruction and student’s attention, but not student learning. Student learning can take place anywhere, but mostly while the student sleeps at night.  Not everyone likes to engage with the content in the same way. Every learner is unique in his or her way of acquiring information. A student may be visual, tactile, auditory, kinesis or a combination of these. Each learner has the right to his or her special way of acquiring information. The teachers’ instruction should take this into account.

Both teacher and student may be biased towards each other. This can certainly interfere with learning. Moral issues of this nature need special attention. Character education should be part of the written curriculum. Learning about other cultures may help in learning to respect each other. Team work can probably help members of different cultures to become better acquainted.

Teamwork in Class

Many students benefit from teamwork. Teachers can use special instruction methods to help student feel at home in their team. This kind of managerial teaching instruction needs careful preparation. Teachers need to consider how to group their students. They may divide their teams according to ability, interest or levels. Conducting a needs assessment questionnaire and interviewing students may help in the process of grouping them. One way of utilizing learning teams is by means of a jigsaw puzzle. The teacher divides the class into groups and then sub-divides the members within the team into A, B, C, and D. Each team has the task of learning a certain theme or specialty that they will be responsible for and teach it to the other teams. Then the team learns a certain part by teaching each other. Each of the members (A, B, C and D) then goes to the other teams and teaches them their specialty. This helps students learn hidden curriculum values such as learning to learn by teaching. Students learn to take responsibility for learning by sharing information or teaching others.

Class Size

Other factors that influence instruction are classroom size and arrangement of the furniture. Class size is a variable that affects instruction and learning. Smaller classes are easier to manage. Dividing the class into teams or sub-grouping is a wonderful solution. Each member is unique on the team. The teacher can walk around and devote quality time to each individual team.

Experiencing information is no longer dependent on what the teacher does as much as what the learner does. Teachers are not actively teaching, but walking around facilitating student’s engagement with the content. Learners are now in the spotlight. The layout of the classroom does not need to be rigid to suggest teacher control. The teacher can arrange the furniture in a different way. Instead of having tables and chairs arranged in a formal way, students can sit in a circle without a table or in teams with the tables joined together. The furniture and plan need careful planning.

Have the Student in Mind

Teachers should have the student in mind as they plan their lessons. The desired outcome of the session should be the students’ and not the teachers’. The teachers’ success will depend on whether the student has reached the desired outcome or not.  The teacher has the student in mind throughout the planning stage so that instruction becomes relevant and meaningful for the learner. The student can then learn about social forces, treatment of knowledge, human growth and development, the process of learning, and technology

Teaching methods and instructions have changed as teachers move from instructing to facilitating. Teachers no longer control their students. Facilitators can now collaborate with their students as they share in the learning experience. They are both willing partners in the process of learning. Teachers and students can reflect on their experiences and feelings. Instead of using the old hidden curriculum idea of socialization with the teacher controlling the student in the classroom.  The teacher can inspire and encourage the student to experience and own information.


Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an education technology and curriculum consultant, faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies, teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. She organizes Moodle MOOCs and online conferences. She earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free teacher training courses on teaching with technology, action research and Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.

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