Cognitive style refers to the way a person thinks and processes information. Many of the most useful models of cognitive style place learners on a bi-polar scale. These include field dependence - independence, convergent-divergent, and holist-serialist. Cognitive style can be compared with cognitive ability, which refers to how good a person is at thinking and processing information.

In the field dependence - independence model some learners are better at distinguishing information and separating it from the information around it.

In the classroom
Learners can be encouraged to think about their cognitive style and how it affects their learning by trying a quiz to identify their preferences. If they understand how they prefer to think then they can learn how to optimise their work in the classroom, and also try alternative ways.

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I found really interesting that this subject was brought up to discussion in the site because I have experience it myself with different classes. What works with one class may not work with another because some learners just have different cognitive styles of learning. I had a 1st grade that hated arts and crafts which is quite interesting since at that age they really enjoy doing those. That class preferred activities that involved action and moving which proved to be quite successful in terms of their learning process. So, at the time I realized I had to change my lesson to planning to adapt to different cognitive styles and ways of learning. With older kids I believe it's a good idea to make them reflect about how they want to learn. It would be an extra motivation and would really make them be successful at feeling engaged and learn the language.

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