Using an informed understanding of styles to enhance learning and teaching in twenty-first century learning environments

Authored by: Carol Evans , Michael Waring

The Routledge International Handbook of Research on Teaching Thinking

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415747493
eBook ISBN: 9781315797021
Adobe ISBN: 9781317752301


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There have been significant advances in our understanding of cognitive styles, however the effective translation of these into practice has been limited, especially within the school context (Evans & Waring, 2012). Cognitive style represents individual differences in cognition that help an individual to adapt to the particular environment (see Kozhevnikov, 2007). Cognitive style is in turn also shaped by an individual’s interactions with an environment. The notion of style modification involving interplay between individual characteristics (e.g., general intelligence, personality) and external requirements operates at a number of micro and macro levels including familial, educational, professional, and the global cultural context. Using this definition, all styles if they include cognitive processing can be referred to as cognitive styles (Kozhevnikov, 2013). The examination of the key principles underpinning styles is highlighted by Zhang and Sternberg (2005) in their use of the term intellectual styles to capture all style dimensions, as well as in the development of the Personal Learning Styles Pedagogy (PLSP) (Evans, 2013b; Evans & Waring, 2009). When discussing differently named constructs (cognitive styles, learning styles, approaches to learning, and/or patterns of learning), there are over-arching themes that apply to all these areas of study which have important implications for learning (as argued by Evans and Vermunt, 2013).

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