Understanding Different Learning Styles and Adapting Teaching Methods

Students have different learning abilities and preferences. Some are more visual and theoretical; others require analytical or practical approaches to fully understand the subject at hand. And we have many other types of students in between. If institutions around India are going to the best out of every learner, we must adopt our school teaching methods to fit students learning abilities or strengths. Today, we discuss how various learners pick up information and how we teachers can adjust to match these styles. 

Visual learners – Support with visual elements 

The majority of your students are probably visual learners, according to research by Atlassian which established that 65% of people retain information by seeing it.

So how do visual learners learn best? If you’d like to know how to teach visuals learners, it’s as simple as incorporating more visual elements into your lessons, namely: 

  • Slideshows
  • Charts
  • Graphs 
  • Whiteboards 
  • Flashboards, etc. 

For visual learners, we encourage giving them the front-row seat in class, so that they can be close to the teacher’s body language and expressions.  

Auditory learners– Work best with song & music

For this type of learning, what they hear tends to be more memorable than what they see. They make up a significant population of students, with research showing that about 1 in every 3 students is an auditory learner. 

Some auditory learning activities that you should bring to your classroom to support these types of students are: 

  • Teach through song and music 
  • Record lessons if you can for your auditory students to revise with 
  • Encourage these students to read more audiobooks 

These kinds of students easily lose attention to noise. Therefore, you want to ensure a conducive classroom environment for them

Verbal learners- Incorporate plenty of written/verbal work 

On the other hand, verbal learners are masters of verbal expressions or prefer to express themselves through writing. In some circles, this type of student may also be referred to as a linguistic or read/write learner. 

How do verbal learners learn best? Challenges that require language reasoning often bring out the best in them.  Examples include: 

  • Reading aloud to the class
  • Paraphrasing/summarizing exercises
  • Role-playing activities
  • Presenting to the class

With verbal learners, we highly recommend that you assign surplus writing and reading assignments. 

Kinesthetic learners- Teach more by actions than words

These are practical learners and thrive more with actions rather than words, which they can find uninspiring and not very memorable. As a teacher, you want to prioritize more practical material that learners can interact with when dealing with these kinds of students. 

Here’s a little more detail on how to support kinesthetic learners: 

  • Use real-life examples and references during teaching
  • Teach with enthusiasm/energy with a lot of emphasis on body language
  • Encourage these students to participate in arts and crafts

Kinesthetic learners lose interest quickly if they’re not moving or performing an activity. Active student engagement is key to keeping their focus.

Interpersonal learners – It’s a numbers game

Interpersonal or social learners best study in the company of others and achieve very little progress alone. It’s a case of the more the merrier as they are usually extroverts.

Save for solitary students, most other types of learners can benefit from group work too. You can support the interpersonal learner by: 

  • Giving them leadership responsibilities on group projects 
  • Encouraging them to teach a sibling or struggling student
  • Signing them up for school clubs 
  • Organizing more class debates  

Intrapersonal learners – Allow room for independence

As opposed to interpersonal learners, intrapersonal students like to do things individually or on their own terms. They shy away from groups and can get more done on their own than in the company of crowds. 

How do you teach intrapersonal learners? Well, teachers should: 

  • Delegate more independent study tasks or assignments
  • Ask them more questions as they tend to keep to themselves
  • Give them extra time to reflect on topics before quizzing them on what they’ve learned
  • Say your thought process out loud when teaching in class

Logical learners – Provide data and challenges

The logical learner is a comprehensive thinker. They question everything and nothing is set in stone for them. To best understand, patterns, order, and a systemic approach to teaching are ideal. They prefer structure and don’t do too well without some form of organization.

So how do you teach logical learners? Try out these teaching strategies for logical learners: 

  • Present hard facts and figures with lessons (statistics, studies, surveys, and whatnot)
  • Include more problem-solving exercises
  • Teach using patterns, relationships & associations

Teachers need to watch and learn

For the most part, not all students strictly fall into one category of learning styles. Some learn best by a combination of different school teaching methods. Teachers must make an effort to figure out where students learning abilities lie at the start of each school year. We can do that by observing our student’s personal tendencies, preferred learning aids, and social behavior. Sometimes, outrightly asking your students how they prefer to learn is the easiest way to know for sure.