I read the article 'Myths of the Mind' in the Report (Professor Bruce Hood, April, 2017).
When I realised where you were from Professor I chuckled. I was
a member of a Neuroscience and Education Special Interest Group from
about 2004 and on two occasions I presented research papers on the
topic with staff from Bristol University at BERA conferences, one at
the University of Glamorgan and one at the University of
The theme of my research papers (one of which is in 'The Journal of
Intellectual Difficulties' is learning styles. Lisle, Angela Mary
(2007) Assessing Learning Styles of Adult with Intellectual
Difficulties. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Vol 11 (1) 1-23
The research paper evaluates the use of learning style inventories
with SEN pupils. In the research paper I get staff at one institution
to use the inventory to assess learning styles. I then assessed the
inventory as to whether or not it is useful for assessing learning
styles FOR THE ENHANCEMENT OF LEARNING. Such tools can assess learning
styles but this is not conducive to the enhancement of learning.
My conclusions were that, yes, we learn using the sensory modalities:
seeing, hearing and doing (touch), but to label any child as one of
the modalities i.e. 'a visual learner, auditory learner or
kinaesthetic learner' is in fact inducing sensory deprivation if the
labelled child is taught to use only one modality.
My recommendations therefore were to use the electronic inventory to
enhance multi-modal learning. In other words, the inventory could be
used as a tool for multisensory teaching because students had to
listen to instructions, see the words and pictures on the screen and
type answers and do task. ONLY ON THIS BASIS WAS THE INVENTORY A WAY
TO ENHANCE LEARNING.
The second research paper I presented at BERA was about multi-modal
learning and what actually happens in brain matter when using
multi-modal methods of teaching. Lisle, Angela Mary (2006) Cognitive
Neuroscience in Education: Mapping neuro-cognitive processes and
structures to learning styles, can it be done? EDUCATION-LINE Database
of conferences and working papers. Available online at:
It is a well established fact that neurons that' fire together wire
together'. Thus when teachers use multi-modal presentation techniques
then they are in fact not differentiating in terms of learning styles,
they are enhancing all pupils multi-modal learning experiences.
I then went on to write a book 'Lisle, A. M. (July 2010) Reflexive
Practice: Dialectic Encounter in Psychology and Education. London &
USA: Xlibris Publisher Ltd. Library of Congress Control Number:
2010906020, ISBN 978-1-4500-9197-8'. Both of the above research papers
were published as well other research papers within the book. The
second edition of the book went to press in 2015, 'Lisle, A. M. (July
2015) The Neuropsychology of Reflexive Practice and the Psychosocial
Context of Development. London & USA: Xlibris Publisher Ltd. Library
of Congress Control Number: 2010906020, ISBN 978-1-4500-9197-8'.
The problem with learning styles and the neurology that unpins them is
that teaching staff haven't got time for 'theory'. They want
'practice' based knowledge. Hence, although I wrote the majority of
the theory as a post-graduate student teacher at the University of
Bradford between 1997 and 2001, much of it didn't get valued not even
in an education department at the University of Derby where I was
employed between 2003 and 2007.
Yes, my research papers went to press whilst working at Derby and yes
the University of Derby STILL receive royalties, but my work wasn't of
value to them. Ironically, the critical evaluation of THE learning
style inventory was the best selling research paper of its year! Those
research papers sell at £20 each. So although Derby draw the income
for material I wrote as a research student at Bradford University,
they didn't want me to continue my work on the topic! Perhaps they
would like to pay me the royalties that actually belong to me then and
not them! Indeed, I asked for the royalties to be paid to the charity
that funded the research 'The Padley Project', but apparently then
didn't get anything from the university.
to summarise then, I whole heartedly agree with Professor Bruce Hood -
I have underpinned the learning styles with neuroscience(brain matter)
but you cannot teach to just one learning style, all children must be
treated equally to multimodal learning experiences and not just those
children with SEN.
If you want to put this in the next issue of the ATL Report then please do.
Angela Mary Lisle (Lecturer in Psychology)