How to Tailor Your Lessons to Kids’ Learning Styles
Published: April 2, 2021
Want to know how to conquer kids’ learning obstacles? If after every lesson your kids can say, “We came, we saw, we heard, we touched,” they’ll also be able to say, “We conquered!”
Kids experience their world through their senses, and each child has a favored sense that sends more information to the brain than the other senses.
The three primary perceptual preferences or “learning styles” are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
By understanding these three learning styles, you can create lessons that’ll give all your children a better chance of learning.
Learning Style 1: Visual
Visual learners need to see or observe things closely. They recognize words by sight, remember faces but forget names, take notes, make lists, have vivid imaginations and think in pictures. Visual learners express emotion through facial expressions.
Jonna is a visual learner. She’s distracted by visual disorder or movement and prefers a neat, meticulous environment. She doesn’t talk at length and becomes impatient when she has to listen for a long time. While her teacher lectures, Jonna will stare, daydream, or doodle.
In every lesson, provide pictorial or graphic representations and demonstrations. Allow visual learners to read and look at illustrations, charts, and other visual aids. Don’t just tell kids about a topic, but allow them to also read about it.
Learning Style 2: Auditory
Auditory learners learn best by reading aloud or listening. Auditory learners remember things they hear better than things they see. These students move their lips or subvocalize as they talk out situations and problems. They hum and are easily distracted by sounds. They remember names by auditory repetition but forget faces. Auditory learners express emotion verbally through changes in tone, volume, and pitch of voice.
Brad is an auditory learner. He often talks to others during class because, even though he enjoys listening, he can’t wait to talk. Brad enjoys the sound of his own voice.
Provide opportunities for kids to listen to oral reading or a taped presentation. Ask questions and form group discussions to get these kids talking. Encourage dramatic presentations or role-plays. Always read aloud any instructions.
Learning Style 3: Kinesthetic
Kelly is a kinesthetic learner. She sits at the front of a group so she can touch the object of the lesson. In a line, Kelly is frequently told to “keep your hands to yourself!” Kinesthetic learners enjoy touching or doing things. These children aren’t attentive to visual or auditory presentations and so seem distracted.
Kinesthetic learners attack problems physically, impulsively trying things out—touching, feeling, and manipulating. When bored, they fidget or find reasons to move. If happy, they jump for joy. If angry, they stomp off.
Structure “real-life” situations such as field trips and allow kids to make things. Give these kids objects to touch or feel what they’re learning about. Make lessons active by having kids play educational games or run relays.
Joyce Platek works with children in Ohio.
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