In the past, I have used the VARK system (Fleming, 2001) to reflect on my learning style, which showed that I am mainly a read/write learner. This means that I learn best by reading over material, taking time to digest it and then writing answers, responses or notes. Since completing the VARK test last year, I have also worked to develop my learning so that I can become more of an auditory and visual learner. I feel that it is most beneficial to be able to use a variety of learning techniques and therefore I will continue to experiment to find styles that work for me.
On completing the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory test, I discovered that I fit into the type ISFJ. This means that I am fairly introverted, use my own personal values and beliefs when making decisions and avoid conflict. I would agree with the characteristics; especially the idea that I learn best when given alone time to reflect and think about what has been covered. One area of my personality that does not seem to fit in with the MBTI assessment is that I am not afraid to express my opinions and ideas in a group. In fact, I am quite often the first to offer a response as I like to be involved in discussions and to receive feedback.
I found the video about active learning to be really interesting. It confirmed some of the ideas that I had already thought about regarding rewriting and going over my notes to ensure that there are no gaps in my understanding. This will also mean that they can be a useful resource in the future.
I think that this understanding about different learning styles and active learning will also be useful when I become a teacher. It is important to recognise that all children are individuals and approach learning in their own ways. As a teacher I will need to provide activities and learning opportunities that can meet the needs of my class, including children who like to get ‘hands on’ and learn practically in groups and those children who prefer to work alone or quietly.
Being able to work effectively in a group is an essential life skill. Throughout my studies there is much to be gained through working with others such as clarification of ideas, discussions about different topics and the potential for new approaches to be introduced. Everyone within a group is coming in with different backgrounds and life experiences. We all have different levels of education and most importantly; all have different personalities! I feel that bringing together these varied individuals allows us to gain a much deeper and broader understanding of any topics that we are working on.
In the past, when working in a group I have found myself trying to become a leader. I do feel that I have some skills in this area, but after reading Belbin’s 9 team roles I have decided that I am actually more effective as an ‘implementer’. I am dedicated, hard-working and like to get the task done.
Working co-operatively will be a large part of my future role as a teacher. I will be expected to work effectively with other teachers and members of staff within the school as well as outside professionals. I must be able to share my own thoughts and opinions while accepting and understanding those of others. Through doing this I hope to be able to build effective partnerships and relationships that will allow me to be a highly successful practitioner.