The brain and senses work together to receive and interpret information. Often, people are more geared towards learning and retaining information that is received by one sense more than others. Sometimes, they will learn through a combination of senses. These senses determine the learning style that a person has. It is important to understand how an individual learns in order to provide the material necessary for them to learn.
These learners rely on hearing information. They may not be strong readers, or may have problems interpreting what they read. Sitting down to read material and understand what they are reading may be difficult and time-consuming. This may cause them to become lost when following the directions or get behind the class when completing work. These learners often learn best by someone reading to them. Reading stories and asking comprehension questions is a great way to help them understand the material. They may need test questions read to them instead of reading for themselves. It’s easier for them to focus on spoken words, such as audio books or interactive computer sites that speak.
An auditory learner may need to talk things through or read out loud to process what he’s reading or thinking. This may cause a distraction when in a classroom, but it may be the only way she can understand the material. Accommodations may need to be made to help her learn without distracting the other students.
The Kinesthetic learner learns through the sense of touch. It isn’t enough to read material to her or tell her what to do. She has to get her hands messy to truly understand what she is supposed to be learning. It is best to instruct the student while she does the activity to help her understand the process. She may not be able to concentrate when sitting at a desk and may need to stand or move around frequently. These learners often do best by taking notes instead of relying on their own memory.
Kinesthetic learners are usually very active and will become antsy if they have to sit for long periods of time. If the work isn’t active, it can be hard to keep their attention and focus. Movement helps their brain settle down and receive the information being taught. These children are often in trouble for not sitting still and not concentrating.
Sight is the key to helping a visual learner understand a concept. He can often look at a diagram and go right to work simulating it. He is usually a good reader and picks up on instructions quickly. The more visually stimulating it is, the easier it is for him to retain the information. He often does best with documentaries or educational games and prefer video games or other electronic outlets for entertainment. He may not be able to interpret information that is spoken to him, relying on the ability to read for himself.
A visual learner may rely on the ability to watch a person’s body language and facial expressions to understand the intent of a comment or action. He may pick up on subtle, visual tools as a teacher is explaining something that helps him remember what was said in class. This could be remembering that the teacher wore a red shirt when talking about Abraham Lincoln, which helps him remember some of the facts she stated. This child may be easily distracted by movement in the classroom and does best when seated near the front to minimize distractions.
Many people learn through a combination of learning styles and they sometimes vary according to the time of day. A person might learn through movement or need hands-on material in the morning and be fine with just reading in the afternoon. It’s important to realize that everyone learns differently. Sometimes, classroom material needs to be adjusted so the child can learn what is being taught.