The Impact of Learning Style

One of the most effective, certainly the most interesting, and one of the most poorly understood learning styles is the "combative" learning style. The individualization in Vohra Method classes and tutoring is well suited for this learning style, but it's good to know exactly what to expect.

How does the Combative Learning Style Work?

Most students, once they see a pattern, generally are willing to accept and apply it without too much fuss. For example, a student who is told that a x a = a² can generally immediately figure out that b x b = b². In reading, most students, once they can see a pattern, or get where a question is leading, will give the desired answer without much fuss.

The "combative" learning style is a bit different. Students with this learning style are seeking deep and thorough understanding. They want more than just the pattern; they want to understand and discuss. In math, you may here them say things like, "I know the answer is 6, but I don't know why." Or, they might just refuse to give an answer until they get it. In reading, they may give technically true but highly unlikely answers to reading questions. They usually know what the question is asking for; they are genuinely trying to figure out why it's not the other things. Often, their alternative answers are logically consistent, just very unlikely. 

The combative learning style is often confused with laziness. In reality, this learning style is the exact opposite of laziness. Lazy students, the second they find a pattern that works, use it. They aren't too worried about deep understanding. Combative students want deep understanding; they are not content with the patterns. Lazy students take the easy way. Combative students take the hardest way.

How does the Vohra Method Work with Combative Students?

Many teachers and parents find this learning style very difficult to work with. They find themselves wanting to say, "You know the answer, just say it!" The combative learning style may come across as an inexplicable stubbornness. In reality, the student is trying to halt the lesson until he can actually understand the current topic.

The Vohra Method is well designed to work with this learning style. In our program, students work independently, at whatever pace works for them. This allows them to discuss questions, explore all possible options, and move on only once they truly understand the topic. 

What To Expect

The combative learning style generally leads to deeper understanding. At the same time, it generally takes a lot longer. At times, students will get exhausted or even a bit frustrated. This is generally because Vohra Method is usually the first program that actually engage with them at the level they seek. Most teachers just brush them off. Even though the combative student seeks the deeper understanding, that process is harder. It's what they want...but it is unfamiliar! Sometimes, getting what you want involves an unexpected amount of work!

Important Things We Do

The combative learning style, while it does lead to deeper understanding, often does not lead to higher standardized test scores. This happens when students get so lost int he intricacies and interconnections that they never see the pattern. In other words, they miss the forest for the trees.

Since we know that's a high risk with the combative learning style, we make sure to redo all major worksheets timed. This ensures that once combative students have understood the details and interconnections, they also can quickly use the overarching patterns. Once they see the details of and interconnections between the trees, we make sure they also see the forest.

Things to Avoid

To make the process very, very slow, very ineffective, and very expensive, all you need to do is rush the student. Rushing a student with this learning style will make sure the student learns nothing, while also making the program expensive.

The combative learning style thrives of deep learning, challenging ideas, exploring connections. Rushing it is akin to forcing a left handed person to write with their right hand. Sure, they can do it. But it will never be natural, right, or completely effective. Reparing the damage later on can be extremely difficult and costly.

Unexpected Advantages

The combative learning style will take longer with SAT training. The good news: people with this learning style usually do college essay training much faster! While SAT performance depends on speed and facility with patterns, college essay performance depends on the ability to see unexpected interconnections. So while combative learning students struggle a bit more with SAT training, they struggle a LOT less with college essays!