Learning identities and characters of studentship: an alternative to learning styles

Abstract

The paper argues that a focus on learning styles has obscured the complex nature of student experience and need. Drawing on broadly postmodern conceptualisations, the paper contends that contemporary identities are essentially fluid, fractured and plural. In attempting to make sense of learning experiences, therefore, an understanding of student
identities as multiple, contested and situated is required. Learning identities derive in part from the dispositions of learners, but also are constructed and reconstructed within discourses of what it means to be a student. Six characters of studentship were identified during eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in a further education college. While some of these ‘characters’ are empowering, and can result in enriched shared learning experiences, others are inhibiting, leading to restrictive classroom encounters. The paper concludes by considering strategies for enabling more positive characters of studentship to be cultivated.

Curtis, W. (2008) Learning identities and characters of studentship: an alternative to learning styles. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 2(1). Available at: http://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=449 [Accessed 19 Sep, 2017].