Learning with a difference

When we teach a group of learners with differing learning styles it is critical that we involve them by using different techniques.

Visual learners
Visual learners typically grasp concepts through visualisation. They normally have a good sense of direction because they picture and memorise landmarks, maps and directions.

They often find lectures boring.
They like to doodle, draw and look out of the window. Visual learners normally use sight words. See, look, show, picture, vision, view, perspective and sight are commonly used.

They remember details including colours, faces, landmarks and spatial arrangements.

How visual learners learn best
Visual learners prefer images, maps, graphs, and other visual representations. They find that if they include images, mind maps, lists, and other visual techniques in their notes they have a better chance of remembering key information.

Teaching methods for visual learners
Include photographs, models, diagrams, mind maps, word webs, visuals. Visual students should colour highlight key items, create mind maps and use flashcards when learning.

Auditory learners
Auditory learners are sound based. They learn best by listening and talking and they remember what they hear. They are normally good with language. They often read to themselves as they study.

Audio learners normally use sound words. Listen, hear, say, tell, whisper, mission, story, speak and understand are commonly used.

They can be very distracted by outside noise and sounds.

How auditory learners learn best
Auditory learners learn best through hearing the lessons. They often need to read the written word aloud to remember key points. Simply repeating over and over in their heads is a key learning method.

Audio mind maps are great tools for auditory learners. They love to learn through stories and memorable quotations.

Teaching methods for auditory learners
Teach verbally and supply written instructions for assignments.

Ask them to highlight key learning points by underlining or with a marker. Involve them through group discussion. Allow time to question, discuss, read out loud and talk through problems. Record lessons on audio/video and give them copies to listen to or watch in their own time. Use stories, quotations, proverbs and audio mind maps as a method to convey lessons and messages.

Kinesthetic learners
Kinesthetic learners typically learn best by doing. They are naturally good at physical activities like sports and dance. They enjoy hands-on learning. They typically like how-to guides and action-adventure stories.

They might pace while on the phone or take breaks from studying to get up and move around. Kinesthetic learners use feeling words such as feelings, felt, touched, sensed, safe and caring.

Some kinesthetic learners are fidgety and have a hard time sitting still. Allow them to move. Stay away from stern reprimands, anger, violence and shouting as this disturbs them tremendously.

How kinesthetic learners learn best
Kinesthetic learners learn best through experience, such as making things, physically colouring in, manipulating items, simulations and role plays. It is critical to involve them physically in the learning process. They enjoy and learn well from experimenting and first-hand experience. Movement and participation are critical.

Teaching methods for kinesthetic learners
Build hands-on lessons into the curriculum. Use role-plays to build a strong understanding of key concepts.

Give them opportunities to team up with small discussion and experimenting groups as they learn concepts and lessons.

Plan field trips to reinforce multiple key concepts.

Allow students to stretch partially and move to avoid them losing concentration. Smaller children can even learn to read and count while jumping on a trampoline—with letters and numbers painted on the bouncing mat.

Arthie and Brian Moore are from Celebrating Humanity International. Email [email protected] Website: www.africa-dreams.com; mobile: 079 643 4457. See our blog, wayswelearn.blogspot.com, for more information.

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