Accommodating several types of learning styles in the same classroom can be a real challenge for a teacher. Each student is unique, with her own special way of absorbing and processing information. Some students may do very well with traditional classroom teaching methods, while others may need a more hands-on approach. You want all of your students to thrive, so how can you plan lessons that will help all of your students learn effectively?
Know Those Learning Styles
The first step is to determine the types of learning styles of your students. Some will have traits of all three of the basic learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic), while most will tend to favor one style over the others. There are other factors to consider, as well. Some students work better in a group, while others work better alone. Some prefer a quiet environment, while others need to be surrounded by activity.
To determine the learning styles of your students, it can help to have parents fill out a questionnaire about their children's learning styles. There are several of these questionnaires available online; a simple Internet search should point you to a printable learning style survey to send home with your students. You can also do a learning style activity the first few days of school.
Once you have an idea of the dominant learning style of your students, you can plan your lessons accordingly. You will want to create lessons that utilize multiple learning styles; for example, include visual, auditory and kinesthetic components whenever possible.
Consider the dominant type of learning style of your class as a whole. Do you have lots of kinesthetic learners? If so, you know you need to include lots of time for movement, as well as lots of hands-on activities. You can also make accommodations for individual students. Have visual learners sit at the front of the class, where they can watch you. Give auditory learners ample opportunities to read aloud and break the class into discussion groups for further explanation. Create a quiet, cozy area toward the back of the classroom where students can retreat when they need a little study time.
By respecting and accommodating the different learning styles of your students, you will ensure that they are all getting the most from their classroom experience.
What are learning styles? While each of us learns through a combination of sight, sound and touch, children have a dominant learning style that influences their ability to understand schoolwork.
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