School Project: Determining the predominant learning style from the VAK learning styles model in KS2 to enhance environmental education

Connie Land


There is a need to improve the delivery of environmental education as it struggles to establish itself within the curriculum, it would be more beneficial if environmental issues were to become embedded in the whole curriculum rather than currently being confined to science/geography. Environmental issues such as climate change means that it is imperative that young children are effectively educated in order to develop a more ecocentric viewpoint of the world. The aim of this research was to investigate if there was a predominant learning style from the VAK (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) model that is most effective for the teaching of environmental issues in KS2 (7-8 years of age). The three learning styles were tested by delivering three 1.5 hour lessons, each based upon one of the three learning styles. The lessons were delivered to three different classes within year three at Hyde Park primary school, Plymouth. Learning was tested through individual/class questionnaires.

Kinaesthetic learning was found to be the most effective style showing the highest retention rates of 99% and 100% respectively for short and long-term learning. Visual learning showed good short-term retention with 100% but declined to 98.25% when tested for long-term retention. Auditory learning showed improvement in short-term learning to 94.25% but long-term retention was poor with only 83%. A significant misconception was generated in the auditory lesson which was dependant on response of question time period p-value < .014. Despite poor retention the learners in the auditory lesson seemed to develop a more ecocentric viewpoint in comparison to other learning styles. The use of kinaesthetic teaching techniques should be encouraged for learners in KS2 to enable them to get the best learning experience possible. The inclusion of storytelling and visual stimulus within lessons has proved to be effective. These techniques can help implement effective environmental education with the limited time dedicated to this subject within the current national curriculum.

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