Most of my entries on this blog have been about how learning abilities need to be addressed and taught specifically to in the classroom.I don’t believe, though, that I have spoke directly to the issue of different learning styles. There are typically three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. I found a blog called Suite 101 that has some really great ideas for teaching reading and writing geared towards a specific learning style. Although this blog seems made more for teachers of young students, the philosophies and even some of the teaching ideas are valuable to me as a secondary education major.

The first learning style, visual or visual-spatial, is described in the Suite 101 blog as a style in which people “think in pictures rather than words.” The name obviously shows that visual spatial learners need visual aids to best. Therefore, a completely auditory lecture would be not conducive to these types of learners. Suite 101 gives examples of teaching methods to use with these types of learners:

Teachers who integrate pictures, clip art, and graphics into phonics and reading curriculum teach visual-spatial learners to decode and comprehend.

One can see that visual learners learn best when given a visual aid to understand a concept.

Auditory, or sequential, learners learn best by taking in auditory lessons. The lectures and discussions work best with these types of learners. Suite 101 points out that though (finally) teachers are being forced to consider visual-spatial and kinesthetic considerations, auditory learning should not be thrown completely away. There will always be students who learn best by hearing, and consideration still must be taken for them, even though auditory teaching is considered a  “traditional” mode of teaching. 

The last category, kinesthetic, or tactile, learners, learns best using thier tactile senses. Suite 101 states

Lesson plans that allow children to move and touch will appeal to kinesthetic-tactile learning styles…. [They]learn best with hands-on and movement activities.

 Kinesthetic learners need that environment of change and movement.

After looking at all three of these learning styles, the thing I still love most about learning about them is that there is no need to specifically test each child for their learning style, and then teach them in that specific way. Of course, test like that can help create a knowledgeable and conductive classroom environment, but it is, in my opinion, impossible for a teacher to have only one or two out of the three learning styles represented in his or her class. Furthermore, these styles only describe for an individual how that individual learns best, not how that person learns totally. Almost everyone will have each learning style represented in them, but will usually be more to one area. Therefore, a teacher who puts in effort to consider each learning style in his or her lesson plans for a week, cannot go wrong. If a teacher finds that a lesson will only work by an auditory style, visual and kinesthetic learners can still grasp the material.

So if these syles are represented in everyone, why even try? The point is that although a person with a visual learningstyle can learn if presented with an auditory lesson, but that he or she would learn faster and better if presented with a visually-oriented lesson. Teachers need to be looking for these opportunities so that each one of their students can learn how he or she learns best.

Suite 101 Blog Posts:
Visual Learners

Hyde, Susan. “Teaching Visual-Spatial Readers.” Suite 101. February 15, 2007.

Auditory Learners

Hyde, Susan. “Auditory Reading Lesson Plans.” Suite 101. February 14, 2007.

Kinesthetic Learners

Hyde, Susan. “Teaching Kinesthetic Readers.” Suite 101. February 14, 2007.