Whether you are a Kindergarten teacher or a college professor, lesson plans can help or hurt your class. Studies have shown that there are three or four learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and an optional reading/writing. Although we each have a preference, it is unfortunate that we do not always match that of our students. This requires thorough planning on our part, to ensure we meet all of our students’ needs. If you would like to create a lesson plan that helps every student, here are some ideas you can use to help.
Have you ever had a student who seemed to be daydreaming, until you call on them and they answer a question correctly? It is probable that they are an auditory learner. Students with this learning preference tend to learn best when listening and paying attention. Speeches can be useful for this student, but often, they learn much more from a standard lecture than anything else. Many foreign language teachers utilize music to tap into the auditory part of the brain, but you can use this tactic for just about any subject. Also, educational videos can have a great impact on these students. The one thing you should never force an auditory learner to do? Take notes. This process can distract them from hearing what the teacher has to say, and they may lose more information than they gain.
Some students prefer to see conceptual pictures of what they are learning. Therefore, visual learners tend to do well in the arts, and their favorite math subject was probably geometry. If you are teaching history, you could procure a model replica of the subject you are studying, and explain its components. Teachers of literature may find that watching a movie adaptation of the book you just completed cements the themes in their mind. Visual learners will have trouble understanding abstract concepts without a visual representation, so try to incorporate them as much as possible.
Whenever you give a project that requires acting, building, or other physical movements, there are probably a few students who stand out. These are the kinesthetic learners. The best way to help them learn is to get them involved, one way or another. Group projects may work for them, but even close interaction in pairs may help. Ultimately, kinesthetics are the most difficult students to teach, because they need to be a part of the process. The best thing to do is make sure, when assigning projects, that you allow a few physical options for kinesthetics to choose from.
Although this is a controversial learning style, it is very simple. Some students just prefer reading their textbook, taking down notes, and absorbing information this way. If you have a student like this, don’t waste their time by making them wait on the rest of the class to catch up. Reading/writing learners are notorious for moving ahead quickly, and will become frustrated if they are stifled. If they must move backward, do not punish them for reading ahead, or they may struggle to learn.
Learning styles vary greatly from person to person, but it is important that teachers make up for that lack of cohesiveness with lessons that accommodate everyone. Next time you plan a lesson, consider which style you lean toward, and whether or not you are able to adapt to everyone’s needs.