Differences Of ESL Learners

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It is also said that people do not necessarily have only one modality. Some might have auditory and kinesthetic perception. Others might have multiple sensory preferences.

2 What Kind of Learning Styles Do ESL Learners Prefer? Reid (1987) conducted survey on the learning style preferences of ESL learners. He analyzed the data based on various categories: age, mother language, TOEFL score, length of time in U.S., major fields, etc. Among them, we will discuss three background differences that affect learners’ styles.

ESL vs Native (weak proficiency vs strong proficiency) The questionnaire suggests that ESL students often differ significantly in various ways from native speakers of English in their perceptual styles. Overall, ESL
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Teachers who have a large repertoire can include multiple styles together at the same point of teaching. Rod St Hill (1997) used the VARK principles to try and stem a high dropout rate from his distance classes in Intermediate Macroeconomics. Of the 300 students, 14% withdrew before the final examination and a further 22 percent did not sit the exam. St Hill, described himself as a very strong Read/write teacher, and he set out to alter his teaching to accommodate the preferences of the students. He included all the four styles in one package. The result is “I used to lose about 25% of students who formally dropped macroeconomics. That rate is down to 10-15%. That is a significant impact of what I have done with my design and delivery.”(Fleming 2012) This example clearly shows that if teachers gives a suitable environment for each type of learner, the class will be much more understandable and …show more content…
As for this issue, Fleming (2012) mentions two approaches; the adaptive approach and the non-adaptive approach. An adaptive learning system is one that attempts to customize the presentation of information and the instructional strategy to the individual learner. For example, an adaptive approach would identify the cognitive style of an individual and present information in a manner congruent with his or her style. A non-adaptive learning system may be defined as one that attempts to cater for cognitive style differences by multiple teaching modes within the same “package”. Students who do not understand it in one mode can find an alternative modes that suited their preferences. Considering that there are different types of students and the time is limited, it would definitely be better for teachers to have the non-adaptable-approach. Also, by having students identify their own styles, they can come up with their strategies to overcome the difficulty by themselves. Rhem.J. (1998) in his article on VARK had this comment on the need to challenge students to use their preferences rather than expect teachers to adopt new strategies. “It seems unrealistic to hope to provide programs that can meet the needs of all these learning styles, to ask the teacher to forgo strengths and become a presentational pretzel. Instead, why not empower students by helping them identify

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