If teaching my 5 year old kindergarten curriculum and my 6 year old second and third grade curriculum has taught me anything in the last month, it is this… different children have different learning styles. What works for one child may not (in truth, probably will not) work for the other. I've long known that the three main learning styles are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory.
I also know that I am am primarily an auditory learner. I think my tendency to be an auditory learner stems from the fact that I have a hearing deficit, so I've always had to pay close attention to hear what is being said. That said, I also know that not everyone learns the traditional way of sitting at a desk and listening to a lecture from the teacher, as I did. One of the blessings of homeschooling is that it gives the freedom to accommodate several learning styles. I've learned a few things with teaching my littles.
5 tips on teaching and accommodating different learning styles
#1. Take Turns
If you’re teaching a child with multiple learning styles or a whole group of children who have different learning styles, you really don’t have much of a choice but to take turns. You might have to teach a lesson with an auditory approach one part of the day, and a lesson with a visual approach at another time. You can also try to teach the same lesson three different ways. Do what works best for you and the ones you’re teaching.
#2. Engage the Students
One way to really teach and accommodate various learning styles is to engage the students. You might need to dress up as a president, let them create their own project, or even have a Q & A session. There are no limits when it comes to engaging your students and helping them to learn.
#3. Practice Makes Perfect
You may be a teacher, mom, or dad who doesn’t have a ton of experience in the “teaching” world. Well, one thing I can tell you is that practice makes perfect. You may teach a few lessons and the kids will leave scratching their heads. Just remember that the more lessons you teach the better you will get at the process. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.
Earlier I mentioned that you may have to combine all three learning styles together to accommodate your children/students. An example lesson of this would be:
A chapter in the book needs read, but everyone has various ways they need to learn.
- Give everyone 15 minutes to read as much of the chapter as they can.
- The teacher reads the chapter out loud to the class or the whole class listens to an audio version of the book.
- The entire class takes time to act out the scenes of the chapter.
#5. Involve the Children
If there is one person that knows how they enjoy learning, it’s the child sitting in front of you. If you’re at a loss for how to teach them, then ask for their input. Put a creative “package” together of how they enjoy learning. Perhaps they don’t need you to stand in front of them teaching for hours, they are better off doing some independent studying. Another child may need you to walk them through every part of the lesson. One thing is for sure, between you and the kids, something will get learned.
As a parent or teacher it can sometimes be tempting to do things in a way that is easiest for us, but this isn’t the route to go. As an auditory learner, I know that I have a natural bent toward teaching orally. I know, then, that I have to be diligent to teach using other styles as well. Taking the time to understand your child's learning style, as well as your own, can go a long way to making learning more enjoyable and more rewarding.