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Hands-on Tutoring Language and Visual Learners

A Hands-on" instructional plan (spotlighted for Math and Science tutoring) proves a centerpiece-learning-strategy for three quarters of the students that we tutor.

But, about a quarter of the general population (and perhaps the same percentage of students seen in tutoring sessions) prove to be visual learners rather than Hands-on learners.

This means that tutoring language that focuses upon "Hands-on" (tactile, kinesthetic and proprioceptive verbs) targets visual learners' weakest (and  least-preferred) learning (and thinking) mode.

Here are some words observed in a recent WyzAnt Blog comment. (The commenter seems to be a "Hands-on" thinker.) ...

* feel
* approach
* hand over the reigns
* be on their shoulder
* taking the exam
* process
* have a grip on

These verbs show that "Hands-on" words tint and color the tutor's world view. Fortunately, a super-majority-plus number of students respond to these verbs. This means that the Hands-on-thinking tutor and the Hands-on-thinking student's language are in rapport and communication seems congruent.

But here are visual-pattern verbs that convey similar ideas...

* see, observe, notice
* panorama, vista
* show, spotlight
* keep a lookout
* shine on the exam
* diagram, map
* perceive, visualize

The tutor with insight into visual models of learning sparkles when they can color and tint their language to match their student's learning style. Otherwise, the language of a tutor spotlighting Hands-on verbs with a visual-thinking student seems out of focus to the student.

And, just as the language this Blog post can prove unsettling to "Hands-on" tutors (and the reason may seem obscured, faded, even outside their field of view), tutors that filter instructional language through the prism of their own Hands-on perceptual style and project only Hands-on verbs prove blurred to the students that they educate.

Tutors who show a sensitivity to the thinking style of each student that they are tutoring by using the correct verbs gain rapport and their communication is congruent. However, tutors that speak and think in a learning style that is different than their students will establish less rapport and their communication will be "out of sync."

So, to avoid "out of focus" communication with your tutoring students, speak the action language of the verbs that they use.



Joseph C.

Tutor, Mentor and Coach