Children learn in a variety of ways. I believe there are five styles of children learners: auditory learners, visual learners, tactile learners, kinesthetic learners, and a combination of the four. In order to meet these needs, an educator must practice differentiated teaching, student centered instruction, teaching to mastery through re-teaching, teaching for learning not to pass standardized tests, and implementing real-life situations into the curriculum. In today’s classroom, teachers have been trained to meet all of these needs through a variety of teaching strategies.
Auditory learners learn through hearing. These children have difficulty learning in noisy environments. They may hum to themselves when completing an assignment. These students benefit most from teachers who lecture, discuss, and question their students. To reach these children, teachers must use rhymes, mnemonics, and songs.
Visual learners learn through seeing. These children usually take extensive notes. Sometimes they may close their eyes to visualize a concept or remember something during an activity. Visual learners are usually clean and neat in the way they dress; they take care of their belongings and their personal space in the classroom. When working with these children, teachers should use posters, graphs, and videos.
Tactile learners learn through hands-on experiences. These children are very creative. They need to touch or feel objects when they are learning a new concept. They even appreciate physical praise. When they have done a good job, a teacher can pat them on the back or given them a hug. They enjoy activities like painting, sculpting, and illustrating.
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. These are the children who have difficulty remaining in their seats. These children remember what was done, rather than what they saw or heard. These children often use their hands and gestures when speaking. They learn best through the use of manipulatives, role playing, and building things.
Some children are a combination of auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic. These children are a little more difficult to reach because an effective teacher must use many learning strategies for each lesson. For this reason, it is very important that each lesson is student centered. When lessons are student centered, the teacher will have to differentiate the lessons. For example, the teacher may have one child make up a song about nouns, another to draw a depiction of them, and yet another sculpts or paints something. With this strategy, all learning styles are addressed. Allow the children to have a more active role in their education. There will be times when children don’t grasp concepts right away; therefore, a teacher must re-teach until that concept is mastered by a certain percentage of the class. Finally, children must understand why they are learning a concept and must never be told to learn a concept because it’s on the test. Effective teachers are able to relate concepts to real life. For example, to teach a child how to follow directions a teacher may bring in a cake mix. This shows the child the concept, but also shows them how to prepare something edible. This will be enticing to the child if they feel they will be able to eat the end product.
I believe these strategies are displayed in most classrooms today because the day of teachers sitting behind their desks and students working on the same worksheets are gone. Now days, students are working in groups. Many times each group is working on something different and each group has to teach their portion of the concept. Having children teach their peers makes them responsible for their learning. They enjoy having the responsibility.