New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Do teachers’ learning styles influence their classroom teaching practice? A case of primary school science teachers from South Africa

Prof. Bongani Bantwini, North West University Human and Social Sciences For Education Potchefstroom South Africa (South Africa)


This paper examines the influence of teacher’s learning style on their classroom teaching and learning practice. The issue of how primary school science teachers’ learning style/s influence their classroom teaching and student learning has hardly received any research attention in South Africa. The reported mixed method study was conducted in various school districts in a large province in South Africa. The data was collected through the use of questionnaires administered to primary school natural science teachers, classroom observations during a science lesson teaching and semi-structured interviews. The study focused on the following questions: (1) what are the primary school natural science teachers’ preferred learning styles? (2) How do they teach natural science in their classrooms? (3) How does their learning styles influence the teaching and learning in their classrooms?


The qualitative data coding and analysis followed the iterative approach as suggested by Miles and Huberman (1984) while the quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS for statistical analysis. The study found and argues that teacher’s learning styles do not necessary shape and have an influence on their classroom teaching practice. Data analysis of the questionnaire responses shows that most of the teachers preferred or learn better through active, pragmatic and reflective learning styles. However, the data analysis of classroom observation during the teaching of a natural science lesson reveals that most teachers employed the verbal and sensing learning styles. This paper argues for several possibilities in this scenario including that (1) the teachers are teaching the way they were taught and it had now developed roots and seem as the ideal way to teach their classrooms; (2) their preferred learning style/s is not possible to use in their environment; (3) the other possibility, which is a fact about many schools, is that the teachers are teaching more than two subjects and therefore view the lecture method as the easiest way which will help them to be able to cover the syllabus within the specified timeframes; (4) there could be an issue of inadequate resources that hinder the use of the preferred learning styles. In conclusion, it is noted that imperative that teachers are aware of their own teaching styles as this knowledge will equip them to make better choices of instructional strategies that do not impede learning.

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