If I could turn back time to my early school days one of the main things, I wish I had known was my own personal learning style. Every child is different and they each understand and absorb information in different ways. For example; certain students write copious notes, others like to talk things through, some prefer hands on activities and others like diagrams and pictures.
The point is each child has an individual way of learning and as tutors it is our responsibility to develop techniques and adapt our lessons to suit the needs of our students. If we assume one size fits all it may appear as if certain students are struggling or are disengaged, in part, because their unique learning style has not been stimulated.
So what type of learner are you?
The Visual Learner
Do you find yourself prone to doodling during lessons, trying to write the neatest revision notes or find mind maps helpful to remember information? If so then you are most likely a visual learner.
This group have a preference for visualising information and learn through sight. Note taking, and the use of pictures and diagrams are a key way of absorbing information.
When teaching this group, it is important to provide students with the opportunity to take notes, colour code and draw diagrams and ensure there is plenty of written information on presentations. Videos providing overviews or explaining complex topics is also a useful tool for enabling information to be visualised.
The Reading/Writing Learners
Do you find it easier to absorb information by reading rather than listening to someone speak? Or writing down information rather than discussing it aloud? If so you may be a reading/writing learner.
This group find reading and note taking a vital way to absorb and store information. They have a preference for the written word. When teaching this group of learners give them plenty of time to process information and provide them with opportunities for further reading and to write their ideas out on paper.
The Auditory Learner
Have you ever had to read something out loud to yourself just to really grasp what it means? Or do you find group discussions a great way of understanding a topic? If so you could be an auditory learner.
Auditory learners tend to engage more when a subject is reinforced by sound. These are your group of students who appear disinterested in reading or note taking and prefer to listen to information. When teaching this group, it is important to verbally explain new concepts and provide a space for them to talk. So encourage group discussions, get them to repeat concepts back to you and ask questions and let them answer.
The Kinaesthetic Learners
Do you find it easier to focus when you are moving around, or find yourself constantly using your hands when explaining something? If so you may be a kinaesthetic learners.
These are your students who find it difficult to sit still and learn best through movement and activity based learning. So get them moving use hands-on learning games, act out new concepts and use story telling as a way of explaining a subject. When teaching this group provide regular breaks to maintain focus and allow them to process information.