Cheri L. Powers

Essay 3

April 15, 2005


The VARK Effect


            For any student wanting to be successful in writing, he or she must have a clear understanding in what they are trying to convey in their essays.  To get started students can use the VARK system it could be the answers to all their problems.  The VARK system will help each student map out which learning style or pattern that will benefit them in their learning styles.   The VARK system has a questionnaire; it has a series of questions that helps provide students with a different profile of their learning preferences and skills.  These preferences are about the different ways that help students or teachers about which learning style fits their purposes. It also helps the teachers become more sensitive to the different teaching strategies that are necessary to reach their students. Along with the questionnaire there are help sheets to steer students with their learning styles  which will help them reach their goal in becoming a successful writer.

            According to the creator, Dr. Neil Fleming, VARK is the acronym from the letters which form and identify the four sensory preferences (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic). Visual learners learn best when teachers use pictures, videos, posters, and slides.  While other students learn best by using textbooks with diagrams, flow charts, and graphs.  Aural learners have a strong preference for learning by aural methods (hearing).  Aural learners hear discussions from their teacher’s supplemented use of overheads, pictures, and videos.  Read/Write learners learn best with lists, dictionaries, definitions, handouts, and readings from the library, and textbooks.  Kinesthetic learners learn best with hands on approaches, workshops in laboratories, field trips, exhibits, and photographs.  Multimodal learners have different preferences and choose to use a variety of means for their learning skills.  Students may use only two preferences that they are strong at, while others may use VAR or ARK.  Which ever preference a student naturally has it is their way of taking in information.  According to Dr. Fleming, all four preferences do not need to be used, because there are times when it is not needed to learn.  Dr. Fleming has stated that many students become anxious if they don’t use all the preferred learning styles, therefore, they may feel frustrated and have difficulty writing their papers.  It is best to use and focus on one or two modals  that they are strong at.

            VARK is a common sense learning tool.  All students whether they are writing, researching or working on essays VARK can help them develop different ways to handle each task.  For example, there are some students who are skillful in Math while other student’s adept well in their English courses, but there isn’t a standardized law that states that all of these steps have to be performed in an expert manner.  The way we approach learning determines whether we succeed or fail.  Knowing how our own preference styles work will help us succeed in our future grammar and writing skills.  Reading about the VARK system gave me a real eye opener about my problems with grammar, punctuation, and other word skills.  It has given me helpful tips on how to develop a different study habit, and to help me improve in my other English class.  The results from the questionnaire reflected that I have a multimodal (VARK) learning preference. Because I am hearing impaired I use all methods to help me reach my goal to become a proficient writer. I use the Visual system to see videos and slides, the Aural to hear tape recorders or overheads, the Reading/Write to read and handouts to learn from, the Kinesthetic for hands on approaches and workshops. 

            According to its creator , Dr. Neil Fleming, who developed the VARK system in 1992, created this learning system with a series of questions with help sheets for students, professors, job work forces, and others to use and figure out their own way of developing their efforts to improve their teaching and learning skills.  Dr. Neil Fleming has been teaching for forty years. He divides his time being a teacher a the Lincoln University, New Zealand,  and has traveled extensively for the past five years in North America and Europe producing workshops on a variety of different topics on the VARK system.

            VARK maps out different study patterns pointing us towards a better understanding of the different methods that can be used in our study habits.  It helps us realize and focus on our own strengths and weakness’ so that we can improve our learning skills.  The VARK system will help us with guidelines and lists that will steer us into the right path to learning.  For instance if your subject of interest is the Read/Write strategy you can use the following tips as your guide.

INTAKE – To take information and use:  a) lists b) headings c) dictionaries d) handouts

OUTPUT – To help us do well in exams:  a) write the exam answers b) practice multiple choice questions c) write paragraphs, your beginnings and your endings d) write your lists (a,b,c,d,1,2,3,4).

            All of us have the potential to learn, but some of us are lazy and waste time, therefore, students become lost and confused.  The VARK system can help clear up some of that confusion. By participating in the VARK questionnaires, and attending workshops may help us improve in our learning and teaching skills.