An Examination of the Learning Styles of Brazilian Senior High School Students Attending Public and Private Schools in a Metropolitan Area of Brazil
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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The need to continue learning throughout life challenges students in all nations (Kodrzycki, 2003; Souza, 2003). Students are called to “learn how to learn”, master learning strategies and take ownership of their own learning (De Vita, 2001; Renzulli & Dai, 2001). Educators are called to acknowledge and understand that students learn in a different way and are thus, pressed to diversify instructional techniques used in the classroom (Cassidy, 2004). In this context, the knowledge of individual learning styles can become an essential tool to assist students and educators. Learning styles have been researched to a great extent in United States, however little is known about Brazilian students' learning styles, especially in secondary education, which is the last step for the majority of students in Brazil. This study sought to make a contribution to the discussion of learning styles, as it investigated the relationship between learning styles of Brazilian senior high school students and the type of school attended - public or private school. This study also examined the relationships between students’ learning styles and gender, age, attitudes toward school and their plans to attend college. The Portuguese version of the Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles was administered to 351 students. Overall findings of this study indicated that the majority of Brazilian students were active, sensing, visual and sequential learners. The results suggested a significant relationship between visual/verbal students’ learning styles and the type of school attended. Results also yielded statistical significance for sensing/intuitive students’ iii learning styles, and gender. Results indicated statistical significance for sequential/global students’ learning styles and age. The findings indicated that verbal students like school more than visual students. The majority of students indicated they plan to attend college. However, the results suggested that there was no significant relationship between students’ learning style and their plans to attend college. Implications of this study include: educators need to be aware of diversity of learning styles found in the classroom, and educators should acknowledge that learning styles differences present a potential to influence student learning, motivation, and attitudes toward school.