Different types of learners need different approaches to teaching

We've been told that each student tends to have a dominant learning style. In my experience, I would say that the Visual-Dominant Learning Style is most common (#1), then the Auditory Learning Style (#2), and then the Tactile or Kinetic Learning Style (#3).

Some teachers seem to love talking a lot, so their students may get 90% of more of their information in the Auditory form. That is not good for some students. Other teachers and professors like to "put it all on the board," and let students do their own note-taking, and draw their own conclusions. There are some "teachers" who do not do very much explaining. Worst of all, a few teachers--at least-- actually discourage students from asking questions. (Amazing, but true, right?)

Before I paint a picture that is too gloomy, please understand that I believe most teachers do a good job of teaching. Some teachers are great at their jobs. In typical classrooms, the visual and the auditory go together, so students don't have to depend on just one learning style. But students probably don't have that many opportunities for "hands-on" learning, except in science lab classes like Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.

From my experience, the "mix" that seems to work best is actually a combination of all three learning styles. When you can see it, and hear it, then talk about it, and "draw a picture of it," or utilize a "hands-on learning model," you are more likely to learn and remember the concepts. When we can make the subject material more "concrete" for students, they are less likely to forget it all too quickly. After we go over a new concept, I ask my students to "teach it back to me," so that I know they understand it fully. That really helps.

The more I learn about the various learning styles, the more I realize that I have a lot more to learn! Any helpful comments or feedback you can share will be greatly appreciated.


Paul C.

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