An investigation of the relationships among physical and emotional learning style preferences and perceptual modality strengths of gifted first grade students

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Little research has been conducted on the learning styles of very young children and on the planning of specific instructional strategies to incorporate those styles. This is especially true regarding the learning styles of gifted primary grade students. Incorporating learning style information into the curriculum for the gifted is a means of providing differentiated instruction to identified children.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether first grade students identified as gifted display different learning style preferences and modality strengths from nongifted first grade students. Two instruments, the Learning Style Inventory: Primary (LSI:P) and the Swassing-Barbe Hodality Index (SBMI), were administered to two groups of first grade students, gifted and nongifted.

The findings of this study indicated that first grade students identified as gifted differed from nongifted students on the following variables: mobility, perception, structure, and short term memory. The groups were similar on the following variables: intake, time, motivation, responsibility and persistence, and modality strength. The study also indicated no relationship between perceptual modality preference and strength for first grade students.