Everyone has a preference with food, movies, music, books, and cars. In the same way, people have sensory preferences when it comes to learning. There are four styles of learning that help students to retain lessons best when they use the ones of their choice. These are visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic learning styles.
In a classroom, the instruction given by the teacher must cater to each learner so that all students can learn the same lesson effectively. Here is an example of classroom design that caters to four different learners during a literature session faced with the topic Little Red Riding Hood.
Visual learner enjoys a picture of a girl wearing a red hooded cape, holding a brown basket of goodies in a green forest. She encounters a big brown furry wolf dressed as a grandmother. This student remembers the story best by seeing images of the action that takes places throughout the tale with face expressions that are happy, surprised, frightened and sad.
Auditory learner gets excited when he or she listens to dramatic while the teacher reads. Classical instrumental mixed with the sounds of birds chirping, frogs croaking, owls hooting, snakes hissing, raindrops falling is ideal. As the story is read aloud by the teacher with a suspenseful tone, the students become engrossed. The auditory learner becomes more attentive when listening to recordings, music, videos and voices.
Reading and Writing Learner
Read-write learner prefers to read the entire story, visualise the imagery that appeals to the five senses, and then write an overview about it. This student enjoys book reports, essay writing, comparative analysis, character sketches, and reading for fun.
Here are some examples of the imagery created in Red Riding Hood. Visual terms are “red cloak”, “lovely flowers”, “butterflies flit about”, “dark shadow” and “pointy ears”. Onomatopoeic words that appeal to the auditory sense are “frogs croaking”, “knocked lightly at the door”, “cackly voice” and “wolf gobbled her up”. An olfactory expression is “Granny’s perfume”. A tactile description is “warm summer day”. At the end of the story, “Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother had a nice lunch” which appeals to the gustatory sense.
Kinesthetic learner desires role playing with costumes and learning the lines of characters. The student can be either Little Red Riding Hood, her mother, the big bad wolf, the woodsman, or her grandmother. This student learns best when he or she dresses up and acts out the roles of the characters in a story while interacting with his or her classmates.
Mixed learning styles
Learning styles are sometimes mixed in order to make a lesson possible. Visual learners would read the story that goes with the images they love to see. Auditory learners would look at a video while enjoying the audio.
Read-write learners would participate the visual, auditory, and physical activities that relate to the information they love to read and write about. Kinesthetic learners would read, write, listen, and view pictures and videos about the story in order to gather information to perform a skit.
While some students may enjoy only one learning style, others love the incorporation of several. These learners may remember the information using more than one activities that relate to their everyday social lives. Some of these are:
– Reciting, singing or rapping involve reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills
– Dancing, skipping or jogging to music use listening and physical skills
– Performing skits or playing mystery games require reading, listening, speaking, and physical skills