Each child is unique in how he or she responds to different learning methods based on his or her particular learning style. There are many types of learners, including visual (spatial) learners, auditory learners and hands-on (kinesthetic) learners. When a child is deficient in a particular area like a student with a visual processing disorder, auditory processing disorder or one who experiences tactile defensiveness, the teaching approach is especially important in order to accommodate that child's particular learning style.
Since teachers have to educate classrooms of students, they rarely have opportunities to craft lesson plans to specific learning styles. This restriction could put some students at a disadvantage.
Teaching Visual Learners
A visual learner or spatial learner is someone who tends to:
- Understand concepts best when they're presented visually
- Prefer reading to hearing someone read
- Remember written information better than spoken information
Educators should understand that visual learners may not succeed in classrooms that focus on spoken lectures. Adding visual components to lectures could give students better opportunities to learn important materials.
Some techniques for making lectures more useful for visual learners include:
- Acting out the material
- Using graphs and charts
- Asking students to draw pictures of what they have learned
- Distributing lecture notes
With some trial and error, teachers may find ways to balance lesson plans to meet the needs of diverse classrooms that include visual learners.
Teaching Auditory Learners
In many respects, an auditory learner is the opposite of a visual learner. Auditory learners typically:
- Respond best to spoken presentations
- Have difficulty recalling information that they learn through text
- Can recall information they learn by listening
Children who learn through listening may thrive in lecture-driven classrooms, but they often fall behind when the teacher switches to print materials. Educators working with auditory learners may improve the students; experiences by:
- Reading the material out loud
- Encouraging students to read text out loud when studying at home
- Recording lessons so students can replay them
- Verbally summarizing lessons to reinforce learning
Just adding a few moments of discussion could help auditory learners grasp new course material. Discussions also give students opportunities to ask questions to help them understand lessons.
Teaching Hands-on Learners
Hands-on education needs to include activities that get students involved in learning and solving problems. When learning the basics of addition and subtraction, teachers may want to use blocks or other objects so students can experience how math functions in the real world. Performing scientific experiments in the classroom can also help hands-on learners grasp difficult material.
Not every subject lends itself to hands-on learning. Even when educators need to teach subjects like language and history, they can still make the learning experience easier for hands-on students.
Giving students permission to get out of their chairs may help hands-on learners concentrate during lectures. Frequent breaks can also help them concentrate. When possible, teachers should think creatively to include a hands-on component to the lesson.
Does Teaching to a Child's Learning Style Improve Academic Success?
Experts disagree about the effectiveness of teaching to a student's preferred learning style. Some researchers even believe that teachers and parents are wasting time by trying to teach to certain learning styles. While research hasn't shown a proven connection between learning styles and academic success, the parents and teachers of children who need extra help in school know that the traditional classroom does not work well for everyone.
Does your child struggle academically? Learn more about the Brain Balance Program. Contact us for a free consultation!