Hodges, Elizabeth Mira (2004)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explores the concept of learning styles as they relate to the education of deafblind children. A literature review concludes that assessment of learning may be more effective than assessment of skills. The practice of assessment in the UK is researched through the use of a survey of teachers of deafblind learners. This survey indicates that teachers favour informal observational assessments, and that they do not currently assess learning style, and may not know what it is. A second literature review and other arguments show that the concept of learning style is relevant to deafblind learners. A series of case studies of deafblind children is then described. Methods for studying learning styles are developed through these case studies. These methods initially explore the concept of style through prompt modality preference, and then through wider aspects of style. The assessments demonstrate that each child has her own individual learning styles, notwithstanding the shared impairment of deafblindness. The application of learning style preferences to teaching shows some evidence of improved learning. In addition, the outcomes of the studies challenge some accepted pedagogical principles for the education of deafblind children, such as the priority of communication skills above self-help skills.
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