Whether teaching takes place in the classroom or at home, delivering lessons and introducing new concepts to children can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By helping children along on their pathway to success, you can be that positive role model in their lives cheering them on. However, teaching also has its many challenges as you are all most probably aware. From behavioral challenges, insecurity about ability, lack of confidence and gaps in knowledge, there’s sometimes a lot of catching up to do in order to build children’s’ confidence and address educational needs. What is clear, however, is the breadth of different learning styles within the classroom. So what can be done keep students interested in learning and create life-long learners?
The 1970s gave birth to individualised learning styles, which helped to re-shape the way in which education was viewed and delivered. Although certain theories preceded Neil Fleming’s work on different learning styles, he suggested that there were four main learning groups that teachers and students alike lean towards when understanding a new subject. These four sensory learning styles are: visual, auditory, written/reading and kinaesthetic learning. It is true that we all can learn from each style individually, but tend to choose one style over the other as a preference, especially when trying to memorise new information. Below are some examples that highlight activities you can try to cater for different learning styles:
Kinaesthetic learning is an excellent approach for those children who just can’t sit still. The children that need to constantly fidget and spend their break times running around until they are completely puffed out. Sitting on the carpet for longer than 10 or 15 minutes may prove challenging for these students who would rather be showing off their sporty skills in P.E. lessons. For these energetic children, using actions and movements could prove highly effective to keep them engaged. When counting or practising times tables, jumping, star jumps, jogging on the spot whilst saying their number facts can keep their mind and bodies active. As for lessons when they will need to sit down and write for longer than 15 minutes, having a quick break half way through the writing process could help to release some energy so that they can continue to work at a good pace. Brain breaks and quick 5 minute exercises could help to re-focus their attention after sitting for longer periods.
Sometimes, when working with the younger year groups, it’s more difficult to determine which children have a talent for music. Also, music lessons are most often taken by an additional teacher so it can be challenging to spot those children that are musically gifted. Auditory learners are excellent listeners. These children sit well during the explanation and can regurgitate what you’ve said without much difficulty. When having to memorise facts, creating songs, rhymes or poetry to remember information such as grammatical terms can really help these children to memorise key facts. Also, introducing music into lessons and discussing the impact different music has on mood can encourage these children to use their auditory skills.
Writing & Reading
Having a mini whiteboard on the carpet during the input is particularly useful for these children. When watching a short clip or learning new information, children who learn best through jotting down their ideas can record what they have learnt. Useful tools for these learners include having a doodle book where they can jot down information, creative writing activities, opportunities to read during the school day. Children who love learning through writing and reading are often most suited to the style in which most lessons are delivered. They are able to shine using these talents within literacy lessons.
Visual learners learn best from an array of bright images, illustrations and visual stimulus. Having lots of pictures on explanation powerpoints can help to bring further meaning to the topic and help them to relate the learning objective with visual imagery. These learners tend to be highly observant, enjoy artistic activities. Allowing some drawing activities and painting lessons to represent the learning objective can help visual learners to consolidate what they have learnt.
Here’s a learning questionnaire to determine what your child’s learning style might be: http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/the-vark-questionnaire-for-younger-people/