How we learn matters ...
There are lots of theories which I think are all relevant depending what you are looking at. We as human beings like to order our information so we can make sense of it and I guess that is why there are lots of theories! Petty (2009:4) introduces "three schools of learning".
A Cognitive School which links to Bloom's taxonomy of there being levels of learning skills from knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis to evaluation and these link to the depth of meaning and getting students to make connections, which aids memory & learning.
The second is Behaviourist School which talks about reward be-getting motivation be-getting success and so on. So learners can learn with reward (like animals do when positively trained to perform).
Humanistic School is about the need for learners to be self-directed and so choose what to learn. The theory being that being forced to learn things can be demoralising and so failure is likely. These emotional factors and a persons own growth and development are therefore paramount to learning.
I my mind all three link together and each simplifies the complex process of learning. We also have models such as the type of learner we are (hence the link above - not going to repeat something that has already been written so eloquently!). So Honey & Mumford (1997) theorist, activist, pragmatist and reflector approach. Then we have visual, audio, (thinker), kinaesthetic known as VA(R)K, Kolb's 4 stage cycle (mentioned on a earlier blog) etc. of which Honey & Mumford's approach may be considered a variation of.
So why does it matter how we learn, after all as teachers we need to accommodate everyone and so devise lessons that will cover all these different learning styles. We know as well that people's learning style changes with age, wisdom, what we are learning, the environment etc. That in itself is useful. We also know that particular types of people move into particular types of jobs (sure there must be some stats out there to show that!) ... so if you are teaching accountancy you expect most learners who will be successful to be theorists or reflectors maybe?
However my point is that we as teachers find it easier to teach using the style of learning we prefer .... because we get it! What kind of people are we? Well it depends what we teach I suspect. Coaches coaching canoeing are probably quite active, especially if they paddle well. Teachers are probably reflectors too with this plan do review process we are encouraged to do. Those teaching complex processes are probably theorists. I believe that we need to be very aware of our own learning style whatever that is and try to become better at the others, so we can better understand our variety of students.
I am a reflector & theorist, when it comes to learning new stuff and I think I am a dream to coach/teach, because I often get it. Perhaps that is why I want to be a coach and teacher!! But we aren't always teaching potential new teachers are we? And some learners won't be a dream to teach because they are pragmatists or just want to do it - activists maybe!! If we are ever fristrated by a learner then perhaps we need to consider th