18th December, 2019

Teaching For Different Learning Types

By Michael H

Every student learns in a unique way. Each student will find various elements of learning challenging in different ways and at different times in their life. There is no one-size-fits-all way of teaching and so it is important that teachers and tutors understand the distinct types of learners they’re working with.

When teaching a class of 30+ it can be difficult to make a lesson accessible for all pupils. Catering to different abilities and learning styles can mean that a middle ground has to be found where no-one is necessarily working at their best.

However, in 1-to-1 tuition, the lesson can work at the speed and style that is best for that student. The tutor can work out which teaching techniques work the most effectively, and craft all the sessions around this style.

This blog will show you 3 key types of learners.

Take a look at the information below. It includes the identifying characteristics of each learning type and top tips on how to accommodate for each one. 

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Visual Learners

Visual learners remember and learn best through visual communication. They like to see information and have the opportunity to examine the relationships between different ideas.

Visual learners may use phrases such as ‘let me see’ or ‘show me’. They will achieve more after watching someone else demonstrate the task than reading instructions on how to do something.

Remember, a visual learner isn’t necessarily showing a lack of dedication if they’re not grasping your ideas quickly. They could be struggling to respond to words alone.

Some suggestions of how you can support visual learners include:

  • Using visual aids such as graphs, diagrams, photos, videos, handouts, artifacts, etc
  • Using highlighters and colours on parts of the text or to emphasise key information
  • Displaying materials in different ways including a change in font size or text style
  • Avoid using large blocks of text - using pictures, flow charts or thought showers where possible
  • Avoid speaking quickly and allow time for them to take in what you’re saying

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Auditory Learners

Auditory learners prefer to hear information instead of reading or seeing it. An auditory learner is likely to absorb information that they hear and is capable of remembering up to 75% of it!

Auditory learners may use phrases such as ‘explain to me’, ‘tell me’ or ‘can we talk through it again’. They have the ability to listen and stay focused for longer periods of time and are able to easily absorb verbal instructions. You may find that auditory learners ask a lot of questions and tend to discuss what they hear right away.

You can support auditory learners by: 

  • Having your lesson in a quiet and appropriate environment to avoid being distracted by outside noise
  • Reading material to them rather than having them read it themselves
  • Engaging in a conversation about the subject, asking a range of questions
  • Using rhymes, rhythms and other sounds to support learning
  • Encouraging them to record themselves explaining a concept and listening to it together to highlight how it can improve

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Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners have a preference for physical, hands-on activities. This kind of student often learns best by practically carrying out tasks. They may still find it hard to engage, even with visual aids and often use phrases such as ‘let me try’.

Usually, kinesthetic learners are the people who would try something without looking at the instructions beforehand. They will be able to perform a new task by trying it out and learning as they go.

You may find that kinesthetic learners are high energy and prone to fidgeting, shuffling or tapping their foot.

Ways you can support kinesthetic learners include:

  • Encouraging them to take notes while reading or listening
  • Providing regular breaks and intervals where they can get up and move
  • Using concrete objects to support learning and allowing them to touch, feel and hold the materials
  • Using role-play to act out concepts which will help them learn.

Do you have any other tips to share about learning styles? Share them on social media using #TutorfulTips.

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