There are three different types of learners – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual learners have a photographic memory. They create a mental picture of everything they learn. Auditory learners are active listeners. They learn best by listening and can memorize and recall things easily. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They want to be active all the time.
My experience of assessing the different types of learners in my classroom has indeed been an interesting one. I feel that it is very easy to classify some learners whereas it is extremely difficult to classify the others. The visual learners stare at me all the time while I am teaching. They draw flowcharts and maps in their notebooks. They enjoy watching PowerPoint presentations and short videos.
The auditory learners listen to me very carefully. They are disturbed by sounds in the corridor, the playground etc. They enjoy participating in group discussions. They could memorize things very easily.
The kinesthetic learners are hyper active. They don’t like sitting at one place for more than five minutes. Unless they are allowed to express themselves in some way in the class, they become very restless. Some of them even start day dreaming. They like learning through games and other activities. I feel that It is easiest to find the kinesthetic learners. However, there are many students who display the learning traits of both visual and auditory learners.
The auditory learners can be taught easily by using traditional teaching methodologies. They are the conventional type (Indian) of learners. The visual learners improvise the teacher’s lessons on their own. They make mind maps, flowcharts, web-charts and drawings in their notebooks to understand whatever the teacher says in class. But kinesthetic learners are different. My knowledge about the various types of learners has helped me in a lot of ways. Earlier I didn’t know what to do with the kinesthetic learners. They seemed to be disinterested. They were easily distracted and disturbed everyone in the classroom.
After assessing the types of learners in my classroom, I realized that there must be something in my lesson to facilitate learning for every kind of learner. I introduce a lesson by using PowerPoint presentations, short videos and photographs for the visual learners. I recapitulate the content shown through the audio-visual media by explanation and questioning for the auditory learners. I ask children to draw something related to the lesson and make a flow chart about the theme for the kinesthetic learners. While teaching the lesson, I allow the kinesthetic learners to express their opinions freely. I ask developing questions for the benefit of the auditory learners and I move around in the classroom for the benefit of the visual and kinesthetic learners. I also ensure that there is at least one group activity related to the lesson, so that the children learn through peer interaction. Recapitulation questions are also asked to capture the attention of the auditory and kinesthetic learners. I make optimum use of the blackboard while teaching for the visual learners. I also plan the post lesson assignments according to the needs of various types of learners. The visual learners are encouraged to get pictures related to the lessons, the auditory learners are encouraged to gather information about the central theme of the lesson and the kinesthetic learners are encouraged to interpret and analyze the lessons.
My knowledge of the different types of learners has also helped me plan the seating arrangement of the class. I ensure that the auditory learners sit at a place where there is minimum noise or disturbance. The visual learners have been seated in the front rows so that they can see the teacher and the blackboard. The kinesthetic learners have been seated in places where free movement is possible. This has made the classroom environment very comfortable.
I think it is very important for a teacher to assess how every child in her classroom wants to be taught. Traditional teaching methodologies need to be improvised regularly to address the needs of different types of learners. Every child is gifted. It is the job of a teacher to bring out the best in her students.