Saturday, October 8, 2011

There are Four Communication Styles (and they're not what you think).

Anyone involved with communication or education has had the 3 communication styles drilled into them--Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. We routinely talk about people being visual or auditory thinkers.

While this model has proven helpful in some areas of communication, it is at best, an over-simplification of a complex process and with respect to education (a critical aspect of communication). Research now shows that the Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic model of teaching/learning to be completely ineffective and in many cases has actually impeded effective learning for many children and adults.

After spending the last six years deconstructing how children communicate, learn and process information, the model of learning and communication that I have identified more closely resembles the four Greek Temperents: Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholic and Phlegmatic.

The model is based on two sets of opposing thought processes: Visual vs. Auditory and Logical vs. Kinesthetic. Each set can be though of as a continuum or spectrum from one extreme to another. It should be noted that we, as human beings are a collection of all four processes, however far we may lean to one side of the spectrum.

So the four "new" communication or learning styles are: Visual-Kinsethetic (Sanguine), Visual-Logical (Choleric), Auditory-Kinesthetic (Melancholic), and Auditory-Logical (Phlegmatic). See image.

For fun and clarity, I've also correlated these four communication/learning styles to the four main characters in Winnie the Pooh. The Choleric is Rabbit. The Sanguine is, of course, Tigger. The Melancholic is Eeyore. And the thoughtful Phlegmatic is Pooh. Lastly, for those familiar with the Meyers-Briggs meta-programs, I have included their approximate location in the model as well.

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