Another cognitive style variable the one on which the most research has been performed is filed dependence/field independence (Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, & Cox, 1977). Sometimes called global vs. analytical thinking this variable reflects on how learners think and process information. The field dependent learner is one who processes information globally. This learner is less analytical, not attentive to detail, and sees the perceptual field as a whole. This whole resists analysis or decomposition. The field independent person on the other hand can easily break the field down into its component parts. He/she is typically not influenced by the existing structure and can make choices independent of the perceptual field. Field dependent persons are more socially oriented and therefore they respond more to reward and punishment (Ferrell, 1971). They also need more explicit instructions when material to be learned is disorganized. They also are less able to synthesize and analyze (Frank & Davis, 1982).
|Perceives globally||Perceives analytically|
|Experiences in a global fashion, adheres to structures as given||Experiences in an articulate fashion, imposes structures of restrictions|
|Makes broad general distinctions among concepts, sees relationships||Makes specific concept distinctions, little overlap|
|Social orientation||Impersonal orientation|
|Learns material with social content best||Learns social material only as an intentional task|
|Attends best to material relevant to own experience||Interested in new concepts for their own sake|
|Requires externally defined goals and reinforcements||Has self-defined goals and reinforcements|
|Needs organization provided||Can self-structure situations|
|More affected by criticism||Less affected by criticism|
|Uses spectator approach for concept attainment||Uses hypothesis-testing approach to attain concepts|
|Prefers teaching situations that allow interaction and discussion with students||Prefers impersonal teaching situations such as lectures. Emphasizes cognitive aspects of instruction.|
|Uses questions to check on student learning following instruction||Uses questions to introduce topics and following student answers|
|Uses student-centered activities||Uses a teacher-organized learning situation|
|Viewed by students as teaching facts||Viewed by students as encouraging to apply principles|
|Provides less feedback, avoids negative evaluation||Gives corrective feedback, uses negative evaluation|
|Strong in establishing a warm and personal learning environment||Strong in organizing and guiding student learning|
|How to Motivate Students|
|Through verbal praise||Through grades|
|Through helping the teacher||Through competition|
|Through external rewards (stars, stickers, prizes)||Through choice of activities, personal goal chart|
|Through showing the task's value to other people||Through showing how the task is valuable to them|
|Through providing outlines and structure||Through freedom to design their own structure|
Below are two tables reproduced from
Whitefield (1995) which expand on the field dependent/field independent styles
labeled global and analytic. Whitefield shows how learners with these styles
learn and suggests ways in which they should be taught.
Global Vs Analytic
- cumulative sequential pattern building towards a concept
- prefer quiet, well lit, formal design
- have a strong need to complete the task they are working on
- respond well to words and numbers
- need visual re-enforcement
- give directions, fact sheets, underline important sections
- provide feedback on details - in sequence
- learn the concepts first
- then concentrate on details
- like to be introduced to information with humor and color
- can work with distracters
- take frequent breaks
- work on several tasks simultaneously
- most gifted children are global
- need lessons that are interesting to them
- discover through group learning (small group techniques)
- need written and tactual involvement
- respond well to pictures
for Teaching GLOBAL Students
Discovery through group learning. Avoid telling too many facts. Students are to discover these in small groups. Some techniques may be Circle of knowledge, Team learning, brainstorming, case study, etc.
Written and tactual involvement. Globals love to graph, map, illustrate, draw, role-play, create charts, invent games, make things, etc. Then watch them develop teaching skills when they have to teach to other students. This happens a lot with computers.
Guidelines for Teaching ANALYTIC Students
Write these on the board as you go. Answer questions about details directly, and use
printed visuals such as the board and overheads.
Directions List all relevant information about assignments, work requirements, objectives and directions on paper, or have the students copy from the board. Don't tell them, show them.
Step by step Proceed step by step through the details that need to be absorbed in order to acquire skills. Put key words on the board, underline important sections or use highlighters, check homework daily, teach independent use of the library facilities, etc.
Testing and feedback. Provide instant feedback on tests and assignments (as soon as
possible), and do what you say you will do! Analytics hold you to your word.