2.1. Learning modalities.
There has been a great deal of work on learning styles over the last two decades. Dunn and Dunn focused on identifying relevant stimuli that may influence learning and manipulating the school environment, at about the same time as Joseph Renzulli recommended varying teaching strategies. Howard Gardner identified individual talents or aptitudes in his Multiple Intelligences theories. Based on the works of Jung, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Keirsey Temperament Sorter focused on understanding how people's personality affects the way they interact personally, and how this affects the way individuals respond to each other within the learning environment. The work of David Kolb and Anthony Gregorc's Type Delineator follows a similar but more simplified approach.
It is currently fashionable to divide education into different learning "modes". The learning modalities are probably the most common:
Kinesthetic: learning based on hands-on work and engaging in activities.
Visual: learning based on observation and seeing what is being learned.
Auditory: learning based on listening to instructions/information.
It is claimed that, depending on their preferred learning modality, different teaching techniques have different levels of effectiveness. A consequence of this theory is that effective teaching should present a variety of teaching methods which cover all three learning modalities so that different students have equal opportunities to learn in a way that is effective for them.
Teachers need the ability to understand a subject well enough to convey its essence to a new generation of students. The goal is to establish a sound knowledge base on which students will be able to build as they are exposed to different life experiences. The passing of knowledge from generation to generation allows students to grow into useful members of society. Good teachers can translate information, good judgment, experience and wisdom into relevant knowledge that a student can understand and retain. As a profession, teaching has very high levels of Work-Related Stress (WRS) which are listed as amongst the highest of any profession in some countries, such as the United Kingdom. The degree of this problem is becoming increasingly recognized and support systems are put into place.
Technology is an increasingly influential factor in education. Computers and mobile phones are being widely used in developed countries both to complement established education practices and develop new ways of learning such as online education (a type of distance education). This gives students the opportunity to choose what they are interested in learning. The proliferation of computers also means the increase of programming and blogging. Technology offers powerful learning tools that demand new skills and understandings of students, including Multimedia, and provides new ways to engage students, such as Virtual learning environments. Technology is being used more not only in administrative duties in education but also in the instruction of students. The use of technologies such as PowerPoint and interactive whiteboard is capturing the attention of students in the classroom. Technology is also being used in the assessment of students. One example is the Audience Response System (ARS), which allows immediate feedback tests and classroom discussions.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are a “diverse set of tools and resources used to communicate, create, disseminate, store, and manage information.” These technologies include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony. There is increasing interest in how computers and the Internet can improve education at all levels, in both formal and non-formal settings. Older ICT technologies, such as radio and television, have for over forty years been used for open and distance learning, although print remains the cheapest, most accessible and therefore most dominant delivery mechanism in both developed and developing countries.
The use of computers and the Internet is still in its infancy in developing countries, if these are used at all, due to limited infrastructure and the attendant high costs of access. Usually, various technologies are used in combination rather than as the sole delivery mechanism. For example, the Kothmale Community Radio Internet uses both radio broadcasts and computer and Internet technologies to facilitate the sharing of information and provide educational opportunities in a rural community in Sri Lanka. The Open University of the United Kingdom (UKOU), established in 1969 as the first educational institution in the world wholly dedicated to open and distance learning, still relies heavily on print-based materials supplemented by radio, television and, in recent years, online programming. Similarly, the Indira Gandhi National Open University in India combines the use of print, recorded audio and video, broadcast radio and television, and audio conferencing technologies.
The term "computer-assisted learning" (CAL) has been increasingly used to describe the use of technology in teaching.
High rates of education are essential for countries to achieve high levels of economic growth. In theory poor countries should grow faster than rich countries because they can adopt cutting edge technologies already tried and tested by rich countries. But economists argue that if the gap in education between a rich and a poor nation is too large, as is the case between the poorest and the richest nations in the world, the transfer of these technologies that drive economic growth becomes difficult, thus the economies of the world's poorest nations stagnate.
Education is becoming increasingly international. Not only are the materials becoming more influenced by the rich international environment, but exchanges among students at all levels are also playing an increasingly important role. In Europe, for example, the Socrates-Erasmus Programme stimulates exchanges across European universities. Also, the Soros Foundation provides many opportunities for students from central Asia and eastern Europe. Some scholars argue that, regardless of whether one system is considered better or worse than another, experiencing a different way of education can often be considered to be the most important, enriching element of an international learning experience.
1) “English on economics”, С.А.Шевелева, 2001.
2) “Английский для студентов экономических специальностей”, Е.В.Глушенкова, Е.Н.Комарова, 2003.
3) “Учебное пособие по деловому английскому языку на базе сборника диалогов «Business Connections»”, О.Б. Андреева, 2005.