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Students: Diversity and Learning Styles

Learning Styles

"Ziegert (2000) finds that students with different personality temperaments approach and learn about the world in different ways. Using a Myers-Briggs type instrument (Myers, 1975; Provost and Anchors, 1988), her work confirms that a large majority of students (66 percent) prefer sensing (S) to intuition (N) when taking in information. Students with S dominant preferences 'trust the data and information that comes from the five senses. These students focus on details and specifics, often work sequentially, prefer experience-based learning, and have a practical and present orientation' (Ziegert, 2000: 309). Additional research indicates that women and students of color learn more with experiential based pedagogies than traditional lecturing (Bartlett, 1996)." (Ziegert and McGoldrick, 2008: 43) Cooperative learning can complement other pedagogies and enhance learning across personality types.


Diversity

There is further evidence that women and men are differentially impacted by the ways economics courses are conducted. For example, the still large use of multiple choice examination questions (Becker and Watts, 1996, 2008) puts women at a disadvantage (Lumden and Scott, 1986; Becker and Johnston, 1999). Pedagogical practices are also argued to have a differential impact on female students (Bartlett 1996, Jensen and Owen, 2000). Jensen and Owen (2001) note that women are less likely to pursue economics because they perform less well in economics relative to their other courses, that they are more encouraged in their understanding of the material if they have a female instructor, and that teaching techniques have a differential impact on women choosing to major in economics. This last finding is particularly interesting because they found that women had a greater confidence in their ability to do economics when the course included group problem solving when the class had more female students, which may be a signal of a less-threatening or competitive environment.

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