Knowing your learning style could help you in food hygiene training courses

What is your learning style?

Most people do not have one learning style but usually a combination of styles. But, knowing which style you might be leaning towards might help you to choose how you learn whether choosing an online or face to face food hygiene course or a particular trainer.

‘I just don’t know why they don’t like me?’

I did not get on very well with my teachers at school, particularly my French teacher. There always seemed to be a problem, they did not explain things properly, went too fast, it was boring etc. etc. In fact, my most used phrase when referring to school was simply ‘I just don’t know why they don’t like me?’.

You may think I was a paranoid teenager, but my French teacher simply had a vendetta against me as a person, or at least that is what I thought. I remember how I spent nearly all my free periods and break times during my senior years. Stood outside the teacher’s common room reciting French verbs in different tenses getting very frustrated.

My French trip

Fortunately, I was a resilient child and was not put off the French language permanently. In fact, those French verbs came in very useful in later years as I got the opportunity to work abroad .

I packed my bag and went off to spend my first summer in the Dordogne working as a courier on a French campsite. The owners refused to speak English, hence the French practice I had done years before came in very handy indeed. You will be glad to hear with wisdom and hindsight I have since forgiven my (evil) French teacher. In fact she did me a massive favour and I now love all things French including the language!!

Thus followed my next 6 years of living in France on and off, doing winter seasons in amazing ski resorts in the French Alpes. And summers spent in Provence and the Cote D’Azur which was truly life changing in terms of confidence building, and being able to speak fluent French (eventually)!

My learning style

I thought about my bad experience at school with my French teacher when I was planning on writing this blog on learning styles. Mainly because it reminded me that her teaching style was suited primarily to auditory learners. They learn by listening and using their own voices. Listening and discussion is how they process information.

You guessed it, I was not an auditory learner, and struggled with her style of teaching which was all about listening and not ‘seeing’. I am a visual learner who simply loves taking notes. I am a list maker. I soak up diagrams, pictures and written information like a sponge. If only I had known this fact sooner I could have explained this to my French teacher.  I think we would both have enjoyed my time at senior school a lot more!

VARK

Don’t you just love an acronym? VARK was developed by Flemming and Mills (1992) who identified 4 learning styles as people generally understand more readily, information presented in the following different ways:

  1. Visual (or spatial) in pictures, diagrams and written words
  2. Auditory by speaking in a lecture, discussion or videos
  3. Reading/writing by writing, reading and searching for information online or in books
  4. Kinesthetic by doing practical exercises, acting, experiments, moving and touching

I remember when I completed my train the trainer qualification, we discussed at lenght the learning styles for quite a while. This was to reinforce the fact that all learning styles should be accommodated, as far as possible, to facilitate learning for all the students in any class or group.

For example, relating to a food hygiene course:

  • Using a white board and writing things down about different food poisoning bacteria is good for learners with a visual preference
  • Watching a video on hand washing or discussing food poisoning is good for auditory students
  • Looking and touching different food items to find out which allergens are present is good for kinesthetic learners
  • Reading the food safety handbook which supplements the course will help readers and writers

Take this quiz

This fun quiz from Arden University (2020) will help you to find out what type of learner you are https://arden.ac.uk/what-type-learner-are-you.

(Note: the reader/writer learning style has some overlap with visual learning but it not included in this quiz)

If nothing else, it may help you put to bed those demons about your experience at school and why you thought your teachers didn’t like you, like me!

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