Learning Styles School in Action
St George’s School, Wanganui, NZ
ILSA has a close relationship with St George’s School in Wanganui, New Zealand, which has been a Learning Styles school for more than 20 years. Learning Styles and Thinking Maps® are key features of the School's offering.
Former headmaster Alan Cooper first attended the International Learning Styles Institute in New York in the early 1990s and formed a strong professional relationship with Rita and Ken Dunn and the International Learning Styles Network. He returned to New Zealand inspired by the Dunns’ differentiated approaches to teaching and learning.
Shortly afterwards, a school-wide learning-style programme was introduced and warmly embraced by staff, students and parents at St George's. Cooper appointed a Learning Styles leader, Judy Waterhouse, and together they instigated the professional development and parent education programmes that remain important to the school today.
When Judy moved north in 2005, Charlotte Humphrey was appointed to the position of Learning Styles Leader at St George’s. Now also a Director of International Learning Styles Australasia (ILSA), Charlotte continues to take a keen interest in St George’s.
Staff at St George’s complete the Building Excellence adult learning-style survey and undertake yearly professional development based on the Dunn and Dunn Learning-Style Model. Teachers are resourced with reference folders (to support the planning and teaching process) and learning-style kits (to facilitate the process of making and modelling examples of tactual and kinaesthetic learning materials).
St George's students understand the significance of making good choices in the classroom. They are encouraged to think about where, how and with whom they concentrate best and do their best work. They appreciate the importance of knowing how to learn.
St George’s students in Years 4-8, aged 8-13, enjoy regular opportunities to assess and review their learning styles using age-appropriate, online Dunn and Dunn inventories. They receive a St George’s Learning Styles Passport which affords specialist teachers immediate access to information about their students’ learning strengths and preferences. The passports do not define the children or ‘put them in boxes’ – rather, they offer an excellent starting point for discussion about approaches to learning, minimising the need for extrinsic discipline.
The children’s parents and caregivers are an integral part of the process and, having received their children’s individual learning-style reports, they are invited to attend a hands-on learning styles information evening early in the school year. Past and present St George's parents have contributed to ILSA’s Learning Styles testimonials. Click here to read testimonials.
St George’s has developed a strong culture of respect for individual difference. Students are encouraged to make responsible, informed decisions when they encounter new or difficult tasks, and visitors to the school are invariably impressed by their enthusiasm, productivity and standards of work and behaviour.
St George’s has a reputation for welcoming educational specialists and interested teachers from New Zealand and around the globe. In addition to their interest in Learning Styles, visitors enjoy finding out about the benefits of the school-wide Hyerle Thinking Maps® programme.
In recent years St George's introduced iPads for all students in Years 7 and 8. The learning styles benefits of iPads are considerable, and staff and students are enjoying this advantage in the classroom.
For further information about St George's School, please contact the headmaster, Andrew Osmond, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Charlotte Humphrey at email@example.com.