Q. What are teaching styles?
A. Teaching styles are behaviors, characteristics and mannerisms that reflect underlying mental qualities used for presenting data.
Q. Why is it important for teachers to know about teaching styles?
A. Teaching is a form of thought transmission and thought control. Therefore, teachers must recognize how they use their personal Mind Styles to transmit specific ideas and how they place special mediation ability demands on the student. They must understand that their mindsets create, reinforce, support and reward certain mental qualities and how their natural biases affect their approaches to classes, choices of methods, media and tests, and arrangements in the environment. Such knowledge is absolutely necessary for responsive and responsible professional behavior.
Q. Is this why you stress that teachers must understand their own style orientation before applying style research to students?
A. Yes. They must never forget that they are the #1 medium in the classroom. It is critical that they know their own minds and are conscious of what they are doing and why they are doing it. As psychologist Bruno Bettelheim has said, "There are...utterly destructive consequences of acting without knowing what one is doing."
Q. Does a dominant CS teacher teach in a CS manner? Do each of the points do this?
A. It depends upon the two types of teaching styles: natural and role-based. Natural teaching style reflects the natural mediation channels of the individual. If the individual is a natural, dominant CS, he/she will express him/herself via that point most of the time.
Role-based teaching style mirrors a set of expected behavioral patterns dictated by tradition, society or some other outside force. It's a beautiful match if the role demands dominant CS behaviors and the individual has that quality. If, on the other hand, the person is a dominant AR with little CS orientation, he/she must decide how to "fill" the demands.
Q. Does this potential difference between role-based
demands and a person's natural abilities cause problems?
A. It can and usually does. Great distress can occur when an individual tries to reshape, redefine, restructure and repress parts in order to measure-up to specific job demands and fit in.
Q. Can this distress lead to some forms of psychosomatic disorders?
Q. What strategies do teachers and administrators (and spouses, friends, co-workers, students and parents) use to deal with people of different Mind Style characteristics?
A. They (1) accept the people as they are, (2) accept them with certain conditions, (3) convert, stretch or change them, (4) exile them, (5) ignore them or (6) destroy them intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Q. How does a teacher benefit from studying the Mind Styles Model?
A. The individual who is serious about personal development can come to acknowledge Self by becoming inwardly sensitive to his/her nature. Under such conditions, the teacher would:
express thoughts and feelings honestly accept responsibility for acts of omission and commission respond appropriately to the natures of other human beings and the environs realize that rational (rationed) endowments naturally prevent him/her from understanding, relating to or building curricula for every learner equally well recognize that every product and method has specific built-in mental structures that place demands upon the professional and learner develop a repertoire of authentic skills avoid buying into or adopting or going along with alien products that could mislead or result in psychological disorientation, mental health problems or feigned compliance and avoid seduction, fraud, coercion or compulsion to force a learner to acquire something against his/her will or nature.
Q. What are the Model's benefits to the learner?
A. This Model can provide the following for the learner:
An authentic, healthy teacher who knows about his/her capabilities, limitations and negative characteristics grows in Self-knowledge and professional abilities, acknowledges, surface stylistic differences, and is conscious of the subtle nature and structures that give rise to them understands the inherent biases imbedded in all methods, media and appliances. He/She evaluates honestly through appropriate feedback, speaks on his/her behalf vigorously, and promotes a rich, nourishing and nurturing environment. The teachers works on establishing goals, offers real choices from a broad array of genuine ways-and-means for fulfilling needs, goals and objectives, challenges him/her to grow within psychological boundaries, an provides realistic opportunities for expressing his/her Self and for contributing to society.
He/She would prevent circumstances that would mislead or label a student, compromise his/her abilities, browbeat or bully the learner, and refrain from hindering the student from developing the genius within. The teacher would also discourage the learner from being narrow- minded, negatively- oriented and behaving as an over-or-under-achiever. Lastly, the teacher would let the student experience real-life consequences of his actions.
Q. You talk about rich and poverty-level environments in schools. What are the characteristics of each?
A. Rich environments nurture all kinds of minds. They provide food-for-thought for all. They afford multiple means of accessing information and accept many forms of human testimony. Poverty-level environs feed only the "chosen," restrict access by limiting options and welcome only certain types of testimonies. They ensure that only the fit survive by starving, pilfering and disabling the unfit and misfits.
Q. Do people purposely cause poverty-level environments for some students?
A. Yes. Everything that exists has a cause (source) and an effect. No exceptions!
Q. I plan to attend a learning styles workshop which advertises that I "will learn how to meet the needs of all learners." You state that we cannot meet the needs of all learners equally well because of our inherent abilities and limitations. Why do they disagree with you?
A. Ask the creator of the model, the presenter and/or the sponsoring organization for the rationale for their statement.
Differing viewpoints can occur for many reasons. For example: (1) our realities are not the same, (2) they accept the fact that students have different styles but don't accept such differences in adults, (3) they have discovered ways of helping teachers exceed their boundaries without negative consequences, (4) they may provide ways and means of addressing only the basics of each style and not ways to deal with those with dominant points, (5) they may instruct you on how to augment your teaching style by imitating the behaviors of natural teachers, or (6) they may train you to use kits or packages prepared by other teachers. Or, maybe the claim is a marketing ploy. Do your homework. You'll find the answers to your question.
Q. Besides workshops, what are the best ways for me to learn how to develop points I have been neglecting?
A. Study the characteristics listed in my books and Extenda-charts. Think and behave in accordance with the descriptors. Decide which ones work naturally for you and which do not. This increases your repertoire over time. Put yourself in the presence of people who are natural, positive and great examples of the points you wish to improve. You can develop wonderful tools by osmosis.
Q. Why doesn't matching learning styles with teaching styles work the way you presenters say it will?
A. Addressing styles is only one aspect that affects learning. The learner's ego, Self, consciousness level, Free Will, experiences, development, anxieties, fear levels, locus of control, commitment to objectives/goals, physical well-being, attitude and countless other variables affect the results. Maybe the child does not want to learn algebra. If so, then providing multiple avenues to algebra will not work. You're wasting both the student's and your time.
By the way, matching styles is not a panacea or a silver bullet. Such a claim diminishes the awesome nature of learning and the human spirit.
Q. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to do well with computers, movies and cooperative learning group activities. Is there something wrong with me?
A. No, there's nothing wrong with you. First, perhaps you have learned how to use the media and techniques inappropriately. You may have had the wrong instructor showing you how to use them. If this was the case, try other sources to learn the techniques.
Second, these media and teaching techniques may not be natural to your type of mental abilities. Even the best of instructors and equipment can't take you beyond your limitations. Remember, each methodology, technique, medium and appliance requires special mental qualities to use them appropriately and effectively. Look inside your Self to see if you are mentally qualified, point-wise, to employ them with ease and grace. If not, stop utilizing them and cease the guilt trip. Bear in mind that students prefer an authentic teacher who knows his/her limits over an naive, ingenuine, overachieving, frustrated do-gooder.
Q. Will the Columbine High School shootings prompt schools to look at individual style differences and understand what it means to be an "insider" and "outsider" in groups?
A. These actions can occur if the leadership, educators and communities want them to happen. But, the opposite may also occur. Individual differences may be viewed as threatening to security and symptomatic of disruption. This could encourage conformity. If this is the turn of events, style research will be used for negative "profiling" (stereotyping) reinforced by surveillance cameras, metal detectors and increased numbers of security guards. Few dollars will be devoted to understanding what and why the events occurred. Time will reveal the answer to your question.