There are several types of learners with distinctive ways of teaching them. No two people are alike, and no two people learn things in the same way. There are so many variables that exist in the world concerning personalities, communities, family traditions, and culture; it is understandable how the same information can be taught to several people but received and interpreted differently.
We learn by our senses, and each of us has our unique way of utilizing those senses for learning. By understanding the way someone learns, we can teach the individual more effectively.
The Linguistic Learner
Linguistics deals with language. Someone who learns linguistically is more receptive to language skills such as speech, writing, and reading. They use language adeptly and usually have well-developed vocabularies. They like to express themselves both with written words and the sound of words. They might enjoy reading a book or rattling off a tongue twister. They are likely to get involved with debate or public speaking.
Teaching the linguistic learner with verbal and written activities is the key to helping them learn. You can engage people that fall into this category in the following linguistic, educational activities:
- Read lessons aloud to them.
- Play word games such as Boggle, Scrabble or Upwords.
- Have them write poems or short stories.
- Encourage them to read the newspaper and magazine articles.
- Involve them in public speaking.
- Have them keep a daily journal.
- Give them opportunities to explore the dictionary, the encyclopedia, and the thesaurus.
The Visual Learner
The visual learner focuses more on things they see rather than hear. Visual learners don't remember verbal instructions as well, and they prefer pictures to accompany their lessons. They like shapes and colors and usually prefer art over music.
Allow the visual learner to associate information with images. The following are activities and teaching techniques that can help the visual learner:
- Use graphs, pictures, and diagrams to explain concepts.
- Let them follow along with the same manuscript as you read.
- Let them close their eyes and picture in their mind what you are teaching.
- Allow them to draw pictures as you speak.
- Show videos that relate to the information you are teaching.
- Use illustrated textbooks.
- Let them create pictures out of numbers or spelling and vocabulary words.
The Physical Learner
Physical learners learn things mostly by touch. They prefer hands-on activities rather than audio or visual. They learn best from the first-hand experience and are interested in sports, dance or other physical activities. They also like to participate in gardening, craft-making, woodworking, and other things that allow them to work with their hands.
Physical learners can have a lot of energy. The following are activities that can help them learn best:
- Let them act out a scene from a book.
- Put on some inspiring music and let them move their arms and legs, expressively, as you give your lesson.
- Let them take extra breaks to get up and move around after sitting for a while.
- Allow them to use a large bouncy ball to sit on instead of a chair.
- Let them build clay models or origami creations while you are teaching a lesson.
- Use flashcards.
- Play a low-key physical game to explain a concept.
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners learn best through listening. They require being able to hear clearly what they are being taught. Sometimes they struggle if the teacher is not articulate in speaking.
To help the auditory learner get the most out of what is being taught, incorporate some of the following activities:
- Speak articulately when teaching lessons.
- Pronounce words properly.
- Read words aloud and use flashcards simultaneously.
- Allow them to sit where they will be able to hear the best.
- Avoid any other noises or sounds that may be distracting when you are teaching.
- Encourage them to have their hearing checked regularly.
- Read assignments out loud.
- Read books out loud and have them follow along.
The Musical or Rhythmic Learner
Musical or rhythmic learners are very receptive to things involving music and rhythm. They may like to tap their pencil on the desk or hum while they are completing an assignment. They love music and can find the rhythm in most any common sound. They are usually naturally talented musicians with good pitch, and they can relate things to rhythmic patterns or songs. They are very responsive to music and are likely to tune in to the sounds of nature.
One of the types of learners that are usually unhappy if the music is not a part of their lives. Allow them to incorporate their talents with the learning process. The following activities will help these learners understand the lessons you are teaching:
- Allow them to sing softly or chant while they are doing their work.
- Let them put study notes for a test, things they need to memorize, or vocabulary definitions to music.
- Let them create a song to present a book report or other presentation.
- Have them memorize things with rhythm by tapping out sentences or phrases with a pencil or clapping to the beat.
- Play instrumental music while they are reading, writing, drawing or studying.
The Logical or Mathematical Learner
This type of learner uses concepts related to numbers, reasoning, and problem-solving. They think in linear or logical order and are methodical learners. They are comfortable using abstract visual information, and they analyze cause and effect relationships to assist them when learning. When there are rules or procedures, they are more assured. They like games and puzzles and have good memories. Their interest may be in careers relating to numbers and logic such as engineering, database design, computer technology or programming, statistics, bookkeeping, accounting, science, physics, astronomy, and architecture.
To reach this types of learners, focus on structured or goal-oriented activities. The following are good ways to help them learn best:
- Allow them to make lists, data reports, or agendas to keep track of group progress.
- Let them utilize computers while learning.
- Use games, brain teasers, and puzzles to teach.
- Present things in a story form in which they can solve problems analytically.
- Have them list things sequentially.
- Focus on principals of classification and categorizing.
- Use graphs, diagrams, and charts to teach.
- Teach them how to outline when taking notes.
The Naturalistic Learner
The naturalist enjoys working with nature and loves using science to learn. They love to observe the fascinating world they live in and recognize categories of rocks, animals, and plants with ease. They are interested in subjects such as geography, chemistry, ecology, biology, and zoology.
Naturalists are one of the types of learners that learn best with hands-on learning and enjoy working outdoors. The activities that help them learn best are as follows:
- Assign projects that let them care for a plant or a pet.
- Have them collect things from outside such as rocks or leaves and classify them.
- Let them research a topic relating to animals or nature.
- Involve them in a beautification project in which they can participate in recycling or cleaning up a park or a playground.
- Take some lessons outside and relate the subjects being taught to the world around them.
The Social Learner
This interpersonal learner enjoys being around people. They enjoy working in groups or on teams and socializing with others. Leadership comes naturally to them, and they are usually good team players. They tend to follow careers in social sciences or psychology.
Provide learning opportunities in which these types of learners can participate in group-related activities. The following can help this learner:
- Have them participate in a club.
- Give them a leadership opportunity such as a group chair, class officer, or project leader.
- Let them work on projects in groups.
- Allow them to interact with their classmates on certain assignments.
- Have them participate in giving and receiving feedback with some of their homework.
- Assign an activity that requires cooperation.
- Incorporate world study and social events into your lessons.
The Inward Learner
The intrapersonal learner does best working alone. Some tend to be introverted. They are motivated by internal forces and prefer to set individual goals. They have a deep awareness of their inner ideas and feelings. They don't like to work on group projects as much and are likely to become entrepreneurs or small business owners.
These types of learners are creative and enjoy activities that don't require direct supervision. Some of the following ideas are helpful for the inward learner:
- Have them write down some goals for a project as well as the steps needed for them to accomplish it.
- Give them ample opportunities to have time alone to process and create.
- Have them keep a journal or make a scrapbook of their experiences.
- Give them a writing assignment about historical figures or have them write a biography of a famous person.
Success in teaching students with such variable personalities comes with understanding the different ways they learn. It's important to look deep in the types of learners. Some students may fit into more than one learning category. As you recognize and relate with each student, you can improve your teaching techniques and styles to enhance the process in which your students learn.