Iowa World
Language Association

Talking to students about their learning styles & strategies

01 Feb 2013 12:56 PM | Stacy Amling (Administrator)
Discussion of learning styles and study preferences is probably nothing new to trained language teachers, but may be a revelation to students. The idea that learning (and language learning, in particular) is not a "one strategy fits all" endeavor has proven to be a valuable topic of discussion in my classroom. Each semester, I talk to students about study strategies, mnemonics, and learning tricks that worked for me. I also try to encourage students--and especially struggling students--to think about what they're doing to learn and perhaps to try something different, whether that be studying with a partner or a tutor, making flashcards, or other strategies. After reading Annie Murphy Paul's review of recent research of effective study strategies (, I've been giving this more thought.

One thing I'm trying with my 2nd semester students is to have them complete the VARK test (free online from and to have them share their results with me. This brief test helps to identify learners as visual, aural, reading/writing, kinesthetic, or multimodal.  To follow up, they also need to look at the study tips for their learning style and see which of those things they already do or what they could perhaps do differently based on those suggestions. I'll see how it goes this semester to see if it'll become a regular part of my class or what other options are available.

How do you work with your students to help them be more effective learners?

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