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Tips for Educators on Accommodating Different Learning Styles

We all have a way in which we best learn.  Odds are, every student in your class has a different preferred learning style, which can make it difficult for you to be the most effective teacher.  However, by trying to incorporate various methods into your teaching, you may be able to reach the majority of your students.  At the college level, it is expected that students have an idea of how to adapt to most teachers, although it cannot hurt to help them out a little! Below we have the three major learning styles and ways in which you can accommodate them.

Learning Style

Characteristics

Tips for Accommodating

Visual

Someone with a Visual learning style has a preference for seen or observed things, including pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, handouts, films, flip-chart, etc. These people will use phrases such as ‘show me’, ‘let’s have a look at that’ and will be best able to perform a new task after reading the instructions or watching someone else do it first. These are the people who will work from lists and written directions and instructions.

  • Use maps, flow charts, or webs to organize materials
  • Highlight and color code books/notes to organize and relate material
  • Have students pick out key words and ideas in their own writing and highlight them in different colors to clearly reveal organizational patterns
  • Write out checklists of needed formulas, commonly misspelled words, etc.
  • Write out and use flash cards for review of material
  • Draw pictures or cartoons of concepts
  • Write down material on slips of paper and move them around into proper sequence. (Can be done on PC too)
  • Use the chalkboard (them and you) to note important information
  • If using the computer, have the student experiment with different font sizes and styles to enhance readability.

 Auditory

Someone with an Auditory learning style has a preference for the transfer of information through listening: to the spoken word, of self or others, of sounds and noises. These people will use phrases such as ‘tell me’, ‘let’s talk it over’ and will be best able to perform a new task after listening to instructions from an expert. These are the people who are happy being given spoken instructions over the telephone, and can remember all the words to songs that they hear!

  • Engage the student in conversation about the subject matter
  • Question students about the material
  • Ask for oral summaries of material
  • Have them tape lectures and review them with you
  • Have them tape themselves reviewing material and listen to it together
  • Read material aloud to them
  • Use a talking calculator
  • Have them put material to a rhythm or tune and rehearse it aloud

 Kinesthetic or Tactile

 Someone with a Kinesthetic learning style has a preference for physical experience - touching, feeling, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences. These people will use phrases such as ‘let me try’, ‘how do you feel?’ and will be best able to perform a new task by going ahead and trying it out, learning as they go. These are the people who like to experiment, hands-on, and never look at the instructions first!
  • Write out checklists of materials to be learned or looked for
  • Trace words and diagrams on paper
  • Use textured paper and experiment with different sizes of pens, pencils, and crayons to write down information
  • Use role play or dramatize concepts. Students can move objects around to dramatize a concept or act out the concept themselves.
  • Ask the student to envision a scene in which the material to be learned is being used or acted out somehow.  For example: a student could imagine being a character in a novel.
  • Have the student take notes (on paper, word processor, in textbooks) while reading or listening.
  • Use some form of body movement (snapping fingers, pacing, mouthing ideas) while reciting material to be learned.

Source: VAK Test

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