Sunday, November 13, 2011

Temple Grandin: Learning Styles, Methodology

This is one of the best films I have seen recently and it teaches us, instructors, how to deal with different learning styles and disabilities. This is the story of an autistic woman who managed to have her Master's despite her unique learning style and disability. This activity is for Methodology students or teachers and students who are taking a Teacher Development Course.

What is a "learning style"?
An individual's natural, habitual, and preferred way of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skill (Reid 1995)

I. Read the techniques or strategies below and decide to which kind of learning style it is most suitable. Write the number before group of sentences.

1. auditory or aural (learning by hearing)

2. visual or spatial (learning by seeing)

3. kinesthetic (learning by doing)


- Listen to instructions and information given orally.

- Sit towards the front of the room so you can hear well and so that you won't be distracted by the noises other students make

- Sit away from doors, windows, and other sources of noise repeat information silently to yourself.

- "subvocalize" as you take notes - repeat information to yourself as a quiet "mumble" that's barely audible.


- watch for key words written on PowerPoint slides, or the board to help organize notes

- Choose a location where you can see the instructor and all visual aids well

- try to listen and write down what you hear; fill in your notes and check for understanding after each class


- Rehearse/repeat information either silently in your head, or out loud study with a partner and take turns reading to each other

- discuss key concepts.

- Work in quiet areas to minimize hearing music, television or other distractions.

- If you prefer to study with music playing, choose something with no lyrics, and keep the volume low.


- Take a small object (eg. stress-ball) to class to play with in one hand while the other takes notes

- Use class breaks to stand up and stretch.

- Do something physical before sitting down to read or study.

- Use your fingers or a piece of paper to help keep track of where you are break reading tasks into small chunks; stop after each chunk, think about what you learned, and write a brief summary


- If confused about a detail, ask the instructor for clarification, write down what she/he says, then review later to ensure you understand.

- Include a left margin with key words look for sketches, diagrams, or charts to help interpret information.

- practice re-drawing them to help remember.

- Make notes colourful; highlight notes so all information relating to one topic is in the same colour category


- Use rhymes or jingles to help remember important points

- Try to remember important terminology by thinking about how parts of the words sound

- Read instructions and questions out loud to yourself (or subvocalize in test situations)


- Personalize the information

- think about how the concepts apply to you or other people you.

- If you typically use your hands when talking to people, try using your hands when studying and explaining concepts to yourself.

Answer key:

Auditory: a, c, f

Visual: b, e

Kinesthetic: d, g

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions that follow:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What kind of learner is Temple Grandin?

3. How does she process the information she is being exposed to?

4. What are the best ways to teach her?

5. What would you avoid doing, if you were her teacher?

6. What strategies would you make use of to teach her?

7. What are the difficulties a teacher will face if he/she had to teach her a foreign language?

8. What is the advantage and disadvantage of having a student like Temple in your class?



  1. Its first time for me to explore your two blogs, but..., i have lost hours by now...there are lot of inspirational video on just one place...
    This video is something that I should show to my colleague that work with me in school...
    I`m impressed by your work

    Bosiljko Derek from Croatia

  2. Thanks for your kind words. Please, share it! See you around.

  3. Fantastic as usual, Claudio.
    I didn't know the movie but have already read two very good books on this issue that are worth reading: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon and "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult. Both deal with kids with Asperger's Syndrome, how they relate to people and their surroundings, their learning styles and behaviour at school...
    Congrats and thank you for sharing such nice teaching ideas. Alex

  4. Thanks, Alexandra. This movie is a must for all teachers and educators. I'll check on the book suggestions.

  5. Sensational. Simply loved it. Good job!