There are several learning types such as aural, visual, physical, verbal, and logical. Each student uses one of these, or a combination of any, in a classroom setting to maintain information and knowledge. There are also students who are either social or solitary learners. No one’s learning style is set in stone, and some students use any learning type depending on the circumstances.
There are teaching methods that cater to any combination of these learning types. They involve different accommodations for each of the learners and make the curriculum accessible for most, if not all, students. University College Cork, Ireland maintains that different teaching methods not only provide different ways for students to enter the learning process, but differentiation also helps students develop multiple representations of a concept and thereby provide the student with a deeper understanding of the topic.
The traditional structure for most classes at Texas State is lectures that are sometimes accompanied by PowerPoints or other slide shows. Running the classes this way only caters to visual and auditory learners, however. The new Ingram Hall, or the engineering sciences building (ESB), changes this.
The new building has a Total Project Cost (TPC) of 120 million dollars and will be the home for several new Active Learning Classrooms for modern teaching/learning methods. It also boasts classrooms that are set up to facilitate group discussions and hands-on, experimental learning with the goal of making their STEM classes more interactive, unlike traditional lectures.
This leaves students in Liberal Arts without a facility that embraces diverse learning centers and teaching methods the way Ingram Hall does. Liberal Arts degrees might not be as hands-on as STEM degrees, but both have students whose educational needs vary greatly. The level of difficulty between STEM and Liberal Arts shouldn’t be a factor when creating facilities for students to learn in. While Ingram Hall is easily expanding the teaching methods in STEM courses, Liberal Art courses are restricted to teaching methods that can only work in traditional lectures.
Lack of funding for a new facility for the College of Liberal Arts, whose main office is currently in Flowers Hall, might be to blame. The equipment needed for STEM classes and labs is costlier, but when it comes to creating facilities that help all learning types, there should be an equivalent of Ingram Hall for Liberal Arts students.
A new building is not necessarily needed for Liberal Arts students to have courses that cater to all types of learners. Having new innovative equipment can help Liberal Arts students obtain a diverse range of learning. Each course is run by a professor who has a final say in the structure of their classes, so ultimately the teaching method used in class depends on the professor. It would be easier for professors to diversify their teaching methods if they were all given access to new and updated equipment.
It is important for classrooms to cater to a wide variety of learning types, especially for students who are paying for their education. Ingram Hall is a glance at what Texas State can offer students through updated facilities that cater to all learning types. Funding aside, having equal facilities for all subjects and degrees should be the first priority for Texas State. Students attended this university to get an education, so Texas State should function as an institution of learning first. This means accommodating every learner’s needs or at least beginning to head in that direction.
– Carissa Liz Castillo is an English senior