by Ann Harrison
In a classroom that is oftentimes filled with as many as 35 students, it may seem a bit daunting to teach so many students, when each student has his or her own individual learning style. There is a way to stick with the education curriculum, and work with different learning styles at the same time. Here are a few tips to break down the barriers between you and your students.
Get to Know Your Students
Some teachers take the time to learn what a student’s interests and concerns are on the first day of class. One way to do this is to encourage your students to work on assignments together in teams. These types of projects allow students to participate by taking on different roles of the assignment, thus building upon their strengths. They also learn to work together and help their peers. Another way to get to know your students and their learning styles is by creating activities that encourage the students to interact with you and with each other. These activities can help you determine what a student’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Make Your Lessons Flexible
If you discover that some students are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners, for example, you can structure your lessons around their learning styles by giving them the choice to either read the lesson, watch a video, or create a discussion group in order to make learning more effective to their individual learning styles. By making these choices, each student can retain the lesson material and discover that that the classroom is a place to learn and help each other, instead of being a place to compete. The lack of competition should be a factor in your classroom, unless you choose to create contests for your students to enter into, at various times during the school year.
Active versus Passive Teaching
This tip is very important for students who are more kinesthetic, rather than visual or auditory. Some students can sit and listen to an audio version of a textbook or lecture and gain an understanding of the material presented. However, other students may need to actually put the principles they learned into practice before gaining an understanding of the materials. These activities may include having a class discussion, or trying different experiments in a science class, for example, in order for the students to fully understand the techniques they have been taught in class.
Create a Learning Styles Questionnaire
This is a technique that I actually took part in when I was a college student. I suggest this for teachers, so you can determine a student’s learning style, and so the students can discover their own learning styles for themselves. Try creating or searching online for a learning styles quiz. This short quiz wasn’t graded, but we were asked to use the information we provided in the questionnaire to help us determine the best method for us to gain a firm understanding of the material at hand. Try this suggestion to help you design a teaching method that makes learning fun and accessible for each student on their individual levels, while teaching your class according to one set curriculum.
By following these few simple steps and finding other suggested activities for students, you can teach one subject, while making your lessons accessible to all students, no matter what your individual learning styles are. What other methods can you think of to make learning easier for each student on an individual level, while teaching an entire class at the same time?
About the Author
Ann Harrison-Barnes is the author of three books: A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery, Stories Outside the Box, and Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book. She has also been published in several anthologies. Aside from her work as a Christian fiction author, Ann is a professional writer and she also crochets bookmarks and book covers to promote her books. To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website at www.annwritesinspiration.com.