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Understanding the different learners and the learning styles


A typical classroom is composed of different kinds of learners. There are those who grasp concepts immediately, those who learn gradually and there are those who learn through experimentation.

 
Learning is a process of acquiring knowledge. Each learner has a different way of learning, and this varies from one person to another.
 
Learning style is the way in which the learner absorbs, processes and retains information.
In general, learning styles can be classified as:
 
 
1.Visual Learning
   Visual or Spatial learning deals with images, charts, maps and diagrams
 
2.Aural Learning
   Aural or Auditory learning deals with listening
 
3.Verbal Learning
   Verbal or Linguistic learning deals with the usage of words and can be both, written or spoken.
 
4.Physical Learning
   Physical learning is also called kinesthetic learning where, learning takes place by touching and moving around
 
5.Logical Learning
   Logical or Mathematical learning is more about using logic and reasoning
 
6.Social Learning
   Social or Interpersonal learning is a skill where learning takes place by communicating with others.
 
7.Solitary Learning
   Solitary or Intrapersonal learning works more on the lines of self-study
 
Understanding the learning styles would help a teacher implement the best practice.
 
According to a survey, a classroom session that meets the needs of all the different learners has been successful in making learning a wholesome experience. Learning becomes a wholesome experience when it not only has audio and visuals, but also activities.
 
It is important for an educator to focus on at least 4 or 5 of these styles while imparting knowledge, as each learner has one or more of the learning styles. Classroom activities help in enhancing the existing learning style and, also develop newer styles. For instance, a solitary learner may be able to learn better when given individual tasks, and the same solitary learner may also become a social learner when he/she is introduced to team building activities.
 
With different kinds of learners, the kind of tactics followed for each learner also varies:
  • Charts and graphs make the subject more interesting for visual learners.
  • Audio clips help aural learners retain information. Aural learners can be given tasks that involve reciting and repeating
  • Classroom quizzes/essay writing help verbal learners learn
  • Exercises involving the students moving around and touching the objects will help the kinesthetic learners learn better
  • Logical reasoning, mathematical problems will help the logical learner in understanding the concepts better
  • Group activities help a social learner learn better as this would involve communication with others
  • Individual tasks may help a solitary learner understand concepts.
Some of the activities that can be taken up in the classroom, along with subject oriented teaching include:
  • Connecting to real life situations
    • Quoting real-life examples or narrating a real story may make the students more curious and attentive, especially when the students are aural learners.
    • Connect to relevant information
  • Kindling the students’ interest
    • By talking about what the students can easily relate to.
    • By quoting whatever fascinates the students like, they can incorporate their favourite character into building sentences or writing essays. Students can do the same for math by drawing diagrams/patterns of what fascinates them, and this can be slowly brought in sync with the chapter concerned
  • Grouping and providing choices
    • Students can be divided into groups to explain a concept or a topic and this would work best for social learners
    • A change from the traditional homework methods of giving the same question to all the students, different questions can be given to each student.
  •  Classroom Activities
    • A quiz can be conducted at the end of every class, based on current affairs or the subject itself.
    • Each class can have a 5-minute time dedicated to games like flashcards, dumb charades, etc or a newspaper discussion session wherein the students can talk about 2 news headlines from the business or the state section of the newspaper. Such activities will not only develop their general awareness and cognitive skills, but will also increase their classroom participation.
In a nutshell, understanding the learning styles and inducing activities may help in making classroom learning more effective.
 
 
  

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