A brief self-assessment

As a part of many of my presentations (including nearly all full-day seminars and keynotes that address different ways people learn), I poll the audience to give participants a sense of differences that exist within the group. Even with small groups, the responses tend to be all over the map.

Because I have had so many requests for this particular slide and handout, I’ve decided to just put the seven questions here on my site. I believe that this list emerged from my work with a self-assessment survey by Kenneth and Rita Dunn, which I first encountered in my graduate studies in the late 1970s. (Their survey, at least the one with which I’m most familiar, is rather long and detailed. I used it in my own classroom and learned a great deal about the diversity of student learning preferences.)

  1. I study best when it’s quiet:  True | False
  2. I learn more in a room with bright lights, or natural light:  True | False
  3. I listen better when I’m doodling, chewing gum, or playing with a piece of string:  True | False
  4. I’m more alert later in the day than early in the morning:  True | False
  5. I need to study in a relaxed position, with my feet up on the couch or in bed:  True | False
  6. I remember things I see better than things I hear:  True | False
  7. I like a lot of freedom on my projects (structure and guidelines are okay):  True | False

Excerpt from The Win-Win Classroom, by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 2008, Corwin Publishing, Thousand Oaks, CA.

One more note: The whole point of my discussing differences in how people learn (acquire, process, or explain information, for example) is to remind educators and parents that these differences exist. Rather than trying to identify or label specific learners, I have always encouraged adults to support these differences by offering and allowing different accommodations for them. I find many learners—even very young ones—to be extremely intuitive about how and where they learn best when we give them opportunities to explore different options. (And the options we allow can give us a good bit of leverage in encouraging cooperative behavior by setting and maintaining boundaries on how these accommodations can be used without creating a problem for others.) See below for more information on this topic.

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Related resources:

The Animal School
Conditions with ADHD “Look-Alike” Symptoms
The “Ideal” Student: The students we were taught to teach
I’m Hyperactive, You’re Hyperactive: Implications for a diagnosis
Literacy: What’s Movement Got to Do with It?
Multiple Intelligences: Many ways to be “smart”
Myers-Briggs Personality Types
Myers-Briggs Scales and Categories
Should Classrooms Ban Water Bottles?
Stress and the Brain: The impact of stress on learning and behavior
Water and the Body: The benefits of water for learning, behavior, and health
Working with Different Modality Strengths and Limitations: Characteristics and strategies

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