At its most basic level, this method of processing and storing is 'rote learning'. But not everything is learnt by rote alone; people learn by 'understanding' as well. This is because the brain forms constructs or patterns out of the processed information. As more information is processed, not only are new constructs created, but they are linked to existing ones. This is how people make 'sense' out of new information. This is how children make the transition from rote-learning to learning-by-understanding. Moreover, research in psychology shows that not all people make 'sense' out of learning the same way. A teacher who believes that students learn in one particular manner, and teaches accordingly, would end up 'teaching' only those students who learn in that manner; the students who have different learning abilities will stand to lose for no fault of theirs (Petty, 2004, chap. 1). This difference in learning abilities of students and the customisation of teaching methods that incorporates this difference is termed Differentiation (Petty, 2004, p. 541). This essay will explore a few concepts of learning, a few teaching methods that benefit students with different learning abilities, and how some barriers in teaching and learning can be overcome. It will also look at a few strategies that help assess teaching and learning.
right-brain and left-brain processors. ...
When people learn, they show preferences in the usage of the two parts of the brain. Right-brain processors learn through images, and they prefer to be given the whole picture. They have to know how a particular subject fits into the larger frame of things, to feel comfortable while learning. Contrastingly, left-brain processors prefer verbal teaching and like to break down the subject into smaller, logical bits. They like structure and order, preferring to piece the bits together in a logical sequence to create the big picture. This dichotomy can prove to be a problem. Right-brain processors will display 'learning difficulties', if they are taught exclusively verbally and sequentially, which is the most common method of teaching used. Petty says that the best learning, results from teaching methods that cater to both right and left brain processors because "right- and left-brain approaches are not interchangeable alternatives, [but] are complimentary." (2004, pp. 142-146)
visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (vak) learning styles. Just like how people prefer different methods of processing information inside the brain, people also have preferences for accepting information through the senses, namely, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Visual learners like to learn through images, charts, videos, mind maps, models, and they are mostly right-brain processors. Auditory learners like to learn through teacher-talk, lectures, seminars and they are mostly left-brain processors. They prefer information that is logical and sequential. Kinaesthetic learners learn through touching, feeling and doing things by themselves; they prefer hands-on experience, like making models, using tools and computers, doing a demonstration for other students, dismantling a device and