As a teacher, the understanding of individual learning or studying habits can help significantly improve the way students assimilate knowledge.
Without understanding these learning habits, a teacher might always have a bunch of students who always lag behind others in a class, however hard the teacher might be trying to teach them---simply because the teacher wasn’t focused enough and could not understand students’ learning style.
In fact, it is the responsibility of the teacher to understand the unique learning or studying habits of every student. This blog is an attempt to showcase different learning or studying styles and how teachers can apply this information during their teaching sessions.
Different learning styles
I. Visual learning
Some students understand concepts more clearly with the help of pictures, maps, and diagrams. These students are likely to be visual thinkers. For such students, the following approaches can yield better results:
- Mind maps: Replace heavy text with pictures and diagrams that explain concepts.
- System diagrams: Individual parts of a system can be presented visually and not textually, for easy understanding.
- Visual storytelling: Introduce stories with a good emphasis on visuals for long-term recalling and understanding.
- Whiteboard learning: Use the whiteboard extensively when teaching such students, as they pick up visual cues faster.
II. Auditory learning
Some students like listening to lectures instead of reading their own notes. These students, called “auditory learners” often use their own voice to understand and reinforce new concepts and ideas. They prefer reading out loud to themselves. Most of these students tend to ask questions and understand things that are explained verbally. The following approaches can be followed for auditory learners:
- Repetition: Allow these students to verbally repeat the concepts that they have learned recently.
- Group discussions: Involve these students in group discussions where there is enough scope for them to understand the subject from all perspectives, as each student would bring in his own viewpoint.
- Rhythm: Junior students aligned with auditory learning prefer lessons in the form of rhymes or songs.
III. Kinesthetic learners
Kinesthetic learners are also called tactile learners. These students learn through experience or doing things. They learn better when they get involved while acting out events or using their hands or touch to understand concepts. Most often, they have trouble sitting still and are known to excel at sports and dance events. The following approaches are best suited for such students:
- Acting out: Allow these students to act out a scene from a book or lesson that is being taught.
- Physical movements: Incorporating physical movements during lessons helps in memorizing. Also, engage such students to write on the whiteboard as an activity.
IV. Learning through reading and writing
According to research, such learners find it easy to understand concepts through written words and reading. While these learners may share some commonalities with visual learners, they find it easier to grasp lessons by reading or writing. Such students’ learning might derive from reading books or articles, writing in diaries, looking up words in a dictionary, or searching for things on the internet. This approach is the easiest to follow, as it is aligned with the traditional educational system, which heavily derives from writing. The following approach is best suited for such students:
- Reading time: Allow these students the maximum time to read books and do their own research into the lessons being taught.
- Writing time: Allow them to express on paper whatever they have learned, in their own words. This facilitates a better understanding of concepts.
V. Logical learning
Most students of this category are inclined towards learning or studying through logical events. They tend to do very well with mathematical concepts. These students have the skill to easily recognize patterns in the information and have the ability to classify information into categories by establishing connections amongst available or provided information. Often, they can easily do calculations without pen and paper and have impressive working memory. The following approach has to be followed for these students:
- Logical reasoning: Allow them to work out problems on their own by stimulating them with logical reasoning.
- List creation: Encourage them to create lists out of lessons being taught to them; this would facilitate better assimilation of knowledge.
VI. Interpersonal learners
Such students excel at learning or studying in groups, as they have an excellent ability to communicate in groups, both physically and verbally. They learn better through discussing, listening, and exchanging ideas. Most often, these students understand the group dynamics better. Approaches to be followed:
- Role-play activities: Introduce such students to role-play activities, which make them understand concepts better through their superior communication skills.
- Debates: Make them defend their viewpoints against differing views in order to reinforce in them the lessons they have learned.
VII. Intrapersonal learners
Such students tend to be introspective by nature and prefer private and independent learning. They might be introverts, but they have strong preferences when it comes to learning or studying subjects. These students give a lot of importance to self-analysis and are often seen tracking their own progress without being governed by outside competition. They like to work out problems on their own and have an independent outlook on life in general. Approaches to be adopted:
- Journaling: Encourage such students to keep a note of their feelings and thoughts.
- Unraveling thoughts: Sometimes, these students find it tough to let go of self-limiting thoughts; hence, they should be allowed the time to unravel the reason behind their thoughts with some outside help.
Customizing the learning plan according to these different learning styles does not end with the classroom but can also pave the way for a better future for students in many ways. Once a student gains an insight into his/her learning style or habit, he/she can have a better grasp of subjects.