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Abstract

This study examined the effect of matching learners' cognitive styles with science learning activities on science knowledge and attitudes. Fifty-six elementary education majors who were identified as Sensing Feeling types on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator participated in this study. The Sensing Feeling type is predominant among elementary school educators. The subjects participated in either nine science activities matched to the learning preferences of Sensing Feelers or nine science activities mismatched to their learning preferences. These mismatched activities were geared toward the learning preferences of Intuitive Thinkers, the dominant type among scientists. Results revealed no significant differences between matched and mismatched groups in knowledge of the material presented or overall attitude toward science and toward science teaching. Comparisons made subsequent to the hypothesized analyses did suggest that cognitive style may affect reactions to certain specific learning activities. The immediate reactions of forty non-Sensing Feeling types who also experienced the treatments were compared to those of the 56 Sensing Feeling subjects. Certain activities which were rated by judges prior to the onset of treatment as being particularly well-matched to the Sensing Feeling style did receive significantly more favorable ratings by the Sensing Feeling subjects than by other types. Conversely, the Sensing Feelers gave significantly lower ratings than other types to certain activities which, according to independent judges, were strongly mismatched to the Sensing Feeling style.