educational articles
Educational Articles

Student Specific Education: Catering To Different Learning Styles

Learning StylesAs all teachers know, students come in all shapes, sizes and learning patterns. While some children can't wait to read, others find sitting still absolutely frustrating. It is important for all educators to remember that every student learns differently when considering future lesson plans. There are currently three categories of learners within the general teaching guidelines- auditory, visual and tactile. Some students learn best hearing lectures and songs or film and would generally be considered auditory learners, while others would rather see a cartoon, graph or diagram and would be classified as a visual learner. Either of those options may be too visual for the rest of the students and they may need to use their hands to fully understand concepts. As every student is different, teachers should be aware of the different learning methods, ensuring a fair and more well rounded education for all. Student specific education has been proven to be the most effective. The following describes each learning style in more detail and includes links to educational sites depicting proper techniques and general characteristics of all three categories for teaching purposes.
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  • State of Vermont: Accommodations and Instructional Strategies That Can Help Students
  • Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training: Discover your child's preferred learning style
  • North Carolina State University: Learning Styles and Strategies: Active and Reflective Learners

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners are characterized as those who learn best through sound and listening to directions and instructions. This means if a teacher were to read a story out loud an auditory learning student would be far more likely to comprehend the lesson rather than if they were to read it by themselves. They would also catch on much quicker than their peers to social cues and change in inflection within their instructor's voice. Tips for auditory students include watching films and hearing recorded lectures rather than straight from textbook lessons. Generally, auditory learners enjoy talking in class and group presentations, while moments of silence and reading directions with illustrations may be more difficult.

  • Western Oregon University: Tips for Auditory Learners

Visual Learners

Students are considered visual learners when they excel at information when presented with visual aids. Pictures within books, diagrams and charts on posters or other large materials can be imagined in their mind after learning. General chalkboard and dry erase boards are perfect to use while lecturing, to keep a memory for students that work better with visual aids. When teachers are working with visual learners, be sure to include academia featuring memorable drawings, colors and illustrations. Visual learners tend to do well with information they can culminate into a movie-like memory- something they can watch back during tests and prior to presentations.

  • Penn State University: Visual Learners, Characteristics of Visual Learners
  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System: Teacher and Learning Center: Visual Learning Style

Tactile Learners

Kinesthetic or tactile learners are characteristically more interested in doing rather than being told. Students with a difficulty sitting still or those that become restless during long lessons tend to learn better with their hands and in group activities. Teachers with tactile learners should consider more hands on assignments that require limited lecture time. These include crafts, group projects and physical activities. During assignments that require in depth analysis, consider adding further tasks such as highlighting specific key words or drawing emotions out on paper as to not disengage the students focus. When working with tactile learners remember that if they are not in action, they are probably un-reactive or uninterested. It is important for teachers to constantly consider action verbs or activities with hands on action within lessons to give tactile learners a fair understanding of materials.

  • Cowley College: Tips for Study for the Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners
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