On Learning Styles

Kiz Talks, July 30, 2014

I got my degree in education back in 2010. Among things we studied was adaptive instruction – suiting your teaching to the kinds of learners you have in your class. One way of categorizing students was based on senses – visual, auditory, and tactile. Or, in layman’s terms, seeing, hearing, and doing.

As dance is a contact and movement activity, of course to some extent we are all tactile learners. One of the reasons you learn more rapidly in a private lesson is that you can partner with an instructor and FEEL the difference. Unfortunately, we don’t usually have that luxury of direct experience in group classes.

When I first started learning kizomba, I had more than one teacher whose stlye was very visual. “LOOK” or “I should see ____” and “See, you are ____.” Unfortunately, I’m not much of a visual learner. Sure, I can figure things out by watching and analyzing, but it takes way longer than if someone accompanies the demonstration with explanation.

I think that’s one thing that made me complement my former teaching partner, Nelson Campos, so well. He had a very visual style, and connected well with learners that liked class to be simply see, try, see, try again, see, practice. Of course he had achieved success as a teacher without me, but we often got comments about how excellent our teaching partnership was, and how well I rounded out the instruction. I believe that’s because of how I added further details and answered questions, and helped bring auditory learners to better mastery.
So, now that I teach on my own, words feature pretty heavily in my classes. I don’t neglect visual and tactile aspects of class, but I am constantly talking through them. In fact, I’m probably best known for my use of analogies. No, not the kind that you may or may not have seen on the SAT (dependng on your age) – more visual ideas put in words, comparisons and metaphors that may make you giggle as much as they help unlock new understanding.

Examples of that to come in Friday’s blog post: “How to Transform Your Kizomba Movement.”

P.S. Don’t worry, on the dance floor I tend to shut up and enjoy the moment! Fear not for your ear when you ask me for a dance.