Ever wonder what type of "learner" your students happen to be?
If you were aware of what type of learning style your students were most likely to remember facts, would you use that method to teach?
But where to start? How do you know if some of your students need better accommodation of their unique learning styles? How do you identify their needs, yet keep your class on track? One red flag is failure to retain information. A teaching approach that accommodates the student's learning style may be the solution.
The days of teaching with a "tried-and-true" approach throughout one's career are long gone. Advances in understanding and accepting diversity (not to mention mountains of research) regularly provide us with opportunities to sharpen our teaching tools and to acquire new ones.
Let's focus on how to combine multiple learning styles into a lesson plan. We'll use an example: You are teaching math to first graders.
8:00am Get the blood flowing.
After the morning class routine, start the lesson with some breathing and stretches, this wakes the class up and gets their blood flowing. Close the eyes to bring attention to seeing and not seeing.
9:00am Start with a silent but visual lesson.
Then ask your students to close their own eyes for one minute and then slowly open them again to a silent room. Begin with visual portion of your student’s brain first since they'll be likely to concentrate better. Create a silent class room. Pass out ear plugs if you have outside noise.
a) Ask your students to be silent.
b) Show the students a picture book or a physical object related to the topic. In the case of math, show them an abacus or a photo of an abacus. 5 minutes.
c) In silence, write on the chalk board focusing on what you are writing (refrain from talking) 15 minutes.
d) In silence, ask students to prepare a picture memory game cards for them to use with a partner. To do this, ask them to draw the math equations or numbers you wrote on the board on to the index cards. 7 minutes
d) Asking students to remain still and quiet, using Crayola colored pencils, request that they color in a color book style image photocopy pertaining to the topic, (the number 5 or a fraction example, or colors for a certain number). (Coloring books are not just for kids!) 5 minutes
9:30 Awaken the ears with audible sounds.
11:00- Combine three types of learning.
a) Visual and Tactile- Partner up with other students in the class. First, students share with the other student the freshly colored photo copy page the created in first 1/2.
Second, they start playing a memory game with the index cards. Partner up with other students in the class. First, students share with the other student the freshly colored photo copy page. Second, they start playing a memory game with the index cards. 20 minutes
11:30am Get tactile just before lunch.
12:00pm Lunch time should be an invitation to use numbers in how their food tastes!
Ask students to think about numbers on their lunch, and when they return share what they had for lunch, and how that relates to the number. For example, how many grapes did they eat?
This lesson plan used on a regular basis will help all of your subjects, you can use this plan to help save your self time repeating, the same lessons over and over. The students will have an easier time with their home work too!
Remember that you learn best by doing, not just by reading, seeing, or hearing.
Auditory, visual and tactile descriptions are listed below.
Below are the definitions borrowed from Education Planner.
If you are an auditory learner, you learn by hearing and listening. You understand and remember things you have heard. You store information by the way it sounds, and you have an easier time understanding spoken instructions than written ones. You often learn by reading out loud because you have to hear it or speak it in order to know it.
As an auditory learner, you probably hum or talk to yourself or others if you become bored. People may think you are not paying attention, even though you may be hearing and understanding everything being said.
Here are some things that auditory learners like you can do to learn better.
Sit where you can hear.
Have your hearing checked on a regular basis.
Use flashcards to learn new words; read them out loud.
Read stories, assignments, or directions out loud.
Record yourself spelling words and then listen to the recording.
Have test questions read to you out loud.
Study new material by reading it out loud.
Remember that you need to hear things, not just see things, in order to learn well.
If you are a visual learner, you learn by reading or seeing pictures. You understand and remember things by sight. You can picture what you are learning in your head, and you learn best by using methods that are primarily visual. You like to see what you are learning.
As a visual learner, you are usually neat and clean. You often close your eyes to visualize or remember something, and you will find something to watch if you become bored. You may have difficulty with spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. You are attracted to color and to spoken language (like stories) that is rich in imagery.
Here are some things that visual learners like you can do to learn better:
Sit near the front of the classroom. (It won't mean you're the teacher's pet!)
Have your eyesight checked on a regular basis.
Use flashcards to learn new words.
Try to visualize things that you hear or things that are read to you.
Write down key words, ideas, or instructions.
Draw pictures to help explain new concepts and then explain the pictures.
Color code things.
Avoid distractions during study times.
Remember that you need to see things, not just hear things, to learn well.
If you are a tactile learner, you learn by touching and doing. You understand and remember things through physical movement. You are a "hands-on" learner who prefers to touch, move, build, or draw what you learn, and you tend to learn better when some type of physical activity is involved. You need to be active and take frequent breaks, you often speak with your hands and with gestures, and you may have difficulty sitting still.
As a tactile learner, you like to take things apart and put things together, and you tend to find reasons to tinker or move around when you become bored. You may be very well coordinated and have good athletic ability. You can easily remember things that were done but may have difficulty remembering what you saw or heard in the process. You often communicate by touching, and you appreciate physically expressed forms of encouragement, such as a pat on the back.
Here are some things that tactile learners like you can do to learn better:
Participate in activities that involve touching, building, moving, or drawing.
Do lots of hands-on activities like completing art projects, taking walks, or acting out stories.
It's OK to chew gum, walk around, or rock in a chair while reading or studying.
Use flashcards and arrange them in groups to show relationships between ideas.
Trace words with your finger to learn spelling (finger spelling).
Take frequent breaks during reading or studying periods (frequent, but not long).
It's OK to tap a pencil, shake your foot, or hold on to something while learning.
Use a computer to reinforce learning through the sense of touch.