Monthly Archives: July 2015

Use Traffic Lights for Quick Asssessment of Learning 

How can you do a quick and instant check on learning as you’re teaching? Sometimes you can use learners’ faces or involvement in a task as a gauge. Other times you need some feedback. You can just ask them but of course you need an individual response. You can do it by show of hands or something else. Of course they may not tell you the truth, which requires another way of checking. They might not want to admit in front of peers they don’t get something, so you still need to follow up by continual assessment anyway. 
However, in spite of the obstacles above, you need to do something. Another method, similar to show of hands, with a bit more finesse and fun, might be to use the traffic light method. 
Using the below images, every time you want to check learning in the middle of a session, hold up the traffic light image below. 
Get students to respond quickly by holding up a corresponding card (cards on tables in front of them) from the red, yellow or green cards below. 
Then, if they all hold up the green card, give them a quick multiple choice test and select students at random who you think may be weaker to provide an answer if they can. 
If you think they are really all green, move on. If you suspect some are really yellow have an extension learning task up your sleeve to help. Use the green card students to help provide assistance. 
If you think there are some reds then back to square one and re-evaluate teaching, but also using green card students to help. 
Adopt a fluid seating plan and groupings to accommodate. 

A word a day! Day 206

Great word… Are you one of these? If not, perhaps read Theodore Zeldin’s book: “Conversation – How Talk Can Change Your Life”… Available very cheaply for one penny only at Conversation

Happy reading 🙂

high heels and high notes


n. – a skillful dinner conversationalist

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Learning Styles: links to online resources debating and discouraging use in the classroom

I got the chance to contribute an impassioned 2 sentences of spiel against learning styles in a staff meeting this morning. I pleaded that staff in our college directorate not use learning style quizzes with students at the beginning of the next academic year, basically because it causes a fundamental problem and allows students to think and make statements like: “Well I’m kinaesthetic so I can’t do English”. Obviously it’s not a great start to the year when that happens. I’ve been naïve in the past to think that the anti learning styles rhetoric was too strong on Twitter, but now I just feel as though the existence of learning styles theory has created far more trouble than it’s worth, right there in my classroom. Yes, learners might prefer to watch TV or be out playing football, but it doesn’t mean they can’t learn by reading and writing. In fact if we suggest the opposite we have failed them. If any of you are interested in finding out more behind these thoughts, please see the links below. If anyone has any other links to blog pieces etc debating the use of learning styles, please share in comments below.

Thanks, Carol

Very accessible YouTube video, easy to understand in a nutshell why we should back off from using learning styles quizzes etc in our classes:

YouTube Video Link 1)

This is a video by David Willingham, who argues against learning styles based on evidence provided by the field of neuroscience. The main crux of the argument being that we don’t actually learn via the “styles” suggested at all. We may have preferences about how we receive information and knowledge, but that is detached from how we actually learn.

Easy to read blog pieces, very well written and argued:

Blog Link 1)

David DIdau argues cogently against being duped by learning styles theory

Blog link 2)

New behaviour Tsar, Tom Bennett, here argues against VAK. He hates it.

Blog link 3)

Tom Bennett on an anti-VAK spleen vent again.

Blog link 4)

Tom Bennett raging against VAK.

Some academic papers, harder to digest, but worthwhile scanning:

Paper 1)

The authors of this research paper conclude that at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning styles assessments into general educational practice. Thus, limited education resources would better be devoted to adopting other educational practices that have a strong evidence base, of which there are an increasing number.

Paper 2)

Should we be using learning styles?: what research has to say to practice, Paper by Frank Cofield

Paper 3) – you will need journal paper access to this one, but it’s about the myths of neuroscience and education, by Paul A Howard Jones.