Each child learns in a different way. There are three generally accepted learning style categories: auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic.
Here are some ways to recognize which learning style suits your students the best.
- Give them a learning style inventory. There are several free tests online that students can take that will determine which style is most like their learning preference. The students fill out a questionnaire about preferred learning techniques and abilities. You can use the results for ability grouping and teaching techniques to cater to those students in order to make sure they are getting every advantage possible to increase learning potential and understanding.
- Auditory learners-These students tend to recall information they have heard more easily than what they have read or written down. They are often vibrant in class discussions and prefer working in groups to bounce ideas off of other people.
- Visual learners-Students who prefer a visual approach to learning often need to read something for themselves in order to understand the material and could even benefit from drawing a diagram or picture for an explanation. Visual learners may need a quiet environment in order to concentrate and fully "get it".
- Tactile/Kinesthetic learners-Hands-on activities are the preferred method of learning for a tactile/kinesthetic student. Physical activity during a lesson helps the student stay focused and absorb the lesson. Students who prefer this method may be restless or fidgeting during class. Hyperactivity is not necessarily an indication of a tactile/kinesthetic learner. Students who belong in this group are not easily distracted by movement and can focus even if they are moving around.
After determining the prevalent learning styles in your classroom, you can tailor your teaching methods to include all of the types of students. Many resources, including online education classes, are available to help you differentiate instruction to include all types of learners.