Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 November 2023
All of us have preferred ways of learning. These ways of learning are not determined by gender or other factors. Part of being a gender responsive educator is recognising that our learners prefer to learn in different ways and we need to find ways to support this through the activities we plan and provide. Developing lessons that cater for different learning styles help learners of all genders participate more fully in lessons.
Stage 1: Explore different learning styles
There are many different ways to explore learning styles and if you research this you will find a variety of names and explanations that differ depending on your source. However, some examples of these different learning styles include but are not limited to:
- Collaborative– working with others in pairs or groups.
- Independent– working on their own
- Talking and Listening- Discussing, debating, talking things through, and listening to information
- Practical – learning through physical movements and the practical application of new skills
- Visual – Using pictures, images and diagrams to learn.
- Reading and Writing – using or creating texts and working with words or language in various forms.
Stage 2: Identify possible gender bias and learning styles
Gendered expectations and norms will make learners of different genders used to learning in certain ways. For example, if girls are rewarded for being quiet and studious, they may become more accustomed to learning with textbooks. But If boys are rewarded for physical actions, they may be more accustomed to learning through practical ways. As learners are encouraged towards behaviour ‘outside’ of the expected gender norms, their preferred way of learning will demonstrate less of these gender stereotypes. As an educator make yourself aware of your own biases, perceptions and expectations of learners of different genders. This is also often based on typical gender roles found in your context and may affect how you perceive your learners’ of different genders abilities and preferred learning styles.
Stage 3: Implement activities
Plan activities for your lessons that focus on accommodating different learning styles. Don’t try to support all learning styles in each lesson as that may not always be possible. However, if you have used activities that focused more on individual learning in a series of lessons try and include collaborative learning opportunities in the next lesson.
Stage 4: Evaluate and Review
Monitor and evaluate learners’ responses and progress to activities that cater for different learning styles to find out who has different styles and what works well within your class. Ask your learners if they enjoyed the different ways of learning. What did they find easy or hard? What other ways would they like to learn? Continue to try out different activities that support a range of learning styles, adapting and improving them.