About the Author
Hi! I’m Marjorie Rosenberg, originally from New Jersey in the US. After receiving an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) degree in vocal performance from the University of Buffalo in upstate New York, I moved to New York City where I found a ‘day job’ in an advertising agency as a media buyer. I continued to pursue a career as an opera singer by taking on roles in small opera companies around the city and finally founding a small opera company with a friend and fellow-singer from university. This dream brought me to Graz, Austria in 1981 and I have been here ever since.
In order to support myself in Europe, I began teaching English as a Foreign Language for the Chamber of Commerce and quickly realised that I needed to develop new skills. This led to a search for courses which could provide them and in a short period of time I completed an intensive course in adult education and several courses on ‘suggestodpedia’ as well as one-day seminars offered through the university on a variety of topics dealing with ELT.
My interest in learning styles began in the suggestopedia course where I was first introduced to the concept of different learner types and for me this was an eye-opener. As a reluctant language learner in high school I began to realise for the first time that it may have been the methods used to teach us rather than my innate lack of ability to learn a second language. In my investigation of the concept of learning I came across an NLP course being held in Austria so I signed up for it. NLP in itself is not a learning style but works a great deal with the sensory channels of perception. I was interested in finding out more about NLP and went on to complete the master’s and trainer’s program with Robert Dilts at NLP University in Santa Cruz, California, the place where it had all started.
Another life-changing event was attending Michael Grinder’s seminar on NLP for the classroom. It was there that I met April Bowie, who developed one of the models found in Spotlight on Learning Styles. April and I began to collaborate and I visited her in Seattle, Washington where we held several teacher training seminars using a variety of learning styles. She also came to Europe and we travelled throughout Austria holding workshops for teachers. When she passed away in 2006, the practical implementation of learning styles in and out of the classroom became a mission for me. I was also lucky to have a colleague here in Austria, Brigitte Jug, who has a background in both NLP and psychology and we ran several hundred seminars for teachers with the aim of raising awareness and sharing our classroom experiences with them.
At the moment I am teaching English at the language department of the University of Graz where I have the chance to put many of my ideas again into practice. What I love about teaching is that there is always something new around the corner and I have the chance to adapt and change things according to the groups I have. I also welcome the challenge of finding tips for learners who are having problems learning – the reward then comes when they let me know that these have worked. I also enjoy presenting at conferences and recently held a workshop at the Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group of IATEFL on the use of learning styles to encourage autonomy and found the connection here to be very close.
Writing has also been an important part of my life for the past decade. As I have been in adult and tertiary education for all of my teaching career in Austria, I was inspired to create interactive and fun materials to use with my classes. The first book I wrote Communicative Business Activities incorporated two learning styles questionnaires and tips for different individuals as well as indicating which learner types the activities were designed for. I have also been involved in two schoolbook series in Austria, again including check-lists and tips for learners. Other writing has been in the business sector where I wrote in In Business and two of the Business Advantage Personal Study Books (Cambridge University Press). I have also been producing materials for the CUP website, Professional English Online for the last several years. Other work has included photocopiable activities for Macmillan found in the teacher’s books for In Company and Gateway, the new revision of Pass Cambridge BEC Vantage for Cengage, National Geographic Learning and English for Banking and Finance 2 for Pearson and now of course, a work of love, Spotlight on Learning Styles for Delta Publishing.
Teacher strategies for learner success