Home » Professional Development » 5 Questions To Define The Primary Learning Style In Your Class

5 Questions To Define The Primary Learning Style In Your Class

The ways in which an individual acquires, retains and retrieves information are collectively termed the individual’s learning style.

Learning styles are simply different approaches or ways of learning. Once you figure out the way you learn, you will know what strategies to use to fit your learning.

Learners learn in many ways – by:

  • Seeing and hearing.
  • Reflecting and acting.
  • Reasoning logically and intuitively.
  • Memorizing and visualizing.

Teaching methods also vary:

  • Some instructors lecture.
  • Others demonstrate or discuss.
  • Some focus on rules and others on examples.
  • Some emphasize memory and others focus on understanding.

How much a given student learns in a class is governed by three factors:

  1. Student’s native ability and prior preparation.
  2. Also, by the compatibility of his or her approach to learning.
  3. And the instructor’s approach to teaching.

Learning style refers to the ways you prefer to approach new information. Although we share some learning patterns, preferences, and approaches, each learns and processes information in a particular style.

Knowing your Students’ own style can help you to realize what teaching methods to use to fit their learning

Types of Learning Styles

There are three primary learning styles:

  1. Visual: Visual Learners learn through seeing. They use mental images and prefer graphs, charts and maps.
  2. Auditory: Auditory Learners learn through listening and talking about things. They can follow discussions and lectures. They like repetition and using acronyms.
  3. Tactile/Kinesthetic: Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners learn through moving, doing and touching. They need to move around.

 Characteristics of a Visual Learner:

  • Reader/observer.
  • Scans everything; wants to see things, enjoys visual stimulation.
  • Enjoys maps, pictures, diagrams, and colour.
  • Needs to see the teacher’s body language/facial expression to fully understand.
  • Not pleased with the lectures.
  • Daydreams; a word, sound or smell causes recall and mental wandering.
  • Usually takes detailed notes.
  • May think in pictures and learn best from visual displays.

Characteristics of an Auditory Learner:

  • Interprets the underlying meanings of speech through listening to the tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.
  • Prefers directions given orally.
  • Seldom takes notes or writes things down.
  • Prefers lectures to reading assignments.
  • Often repeats what has just been said and talks to self.

Characteristics of a Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner:

  • Needs to touch, handle, and manipulate materials and objects, especially while studying or listening.
  • Counts on fingers and talks with hands.
  • Good at drawing designs.
  • Often doodles while listening, thus processing information.
  • Good at sports, mechanics, and using appliances and tools.
  • Often adventurous
  • May find it hard to sit still for long periods.
  • May become distracted by their need for activity and exploration.

Tips For Teachers Who Teach Different Learning Styles

  •  Recognize the primary learning style in your class.
  •  If the primary learning style is visual, draw pictures in the margins, and use graphics and text that explains the graphics. Play a movie about each topic in your subject matter.
  • If the primary learning style is auditory, say the words. Read aloud or talk through the information.
  • If the primary learning style is tactile/kinesthetic, use a pencil or highlighter pen to mark passages that are meaningful to your students. Encourage taking notes and transferring the information learned to the margins of the book, into a journal, or onto a computer. Encourage doodling as they read. Allow walking around as you read.

Here is a list of five questions that you can use to define the primary learning style in your class

1. What type of information do the students preferentially perceive:

  • Sensory: sights, sounds, ….
  • Physical sensations,
  • Intuitive: memories, ideas, insights, ……….?

2. Through which modality is sensory information most effectively perceived:

  • Visual: pictures, diagrams, graphs, demonstrations, or
  • Verbal: sounds, written and spoken words and formulas?

3. With which organization of information are the students most comfortable:

  • Inductive: facts and observations are given, underlying principles are inferred, or
  • Deductive: principles are given, and consequences and applications are deduced?

4. How do the students prefer to process information:

  • Actively: through engagement in physical activity or discussion, or
  • Reflectively: through introspection?

5. How do the students progress toward understanding:

  • Sequentially: in a logical progression of small incremental steps, or
  • Globally: in large jumps, holistically?

Final Word

Students in each class are different and various. They:

  • Have different backgrounds (educational, ethnic, cultural, etc).
  • Have different reasons for learning.
  • Are motivated in different ways and by different things.
  • Respond differently to challenges presented in learning programs.

As a result, their learning styles differ meaning that they learn in different ways and at different paces and successful teachers are those who try their best to address these individual differences.

Thanks For Reading

Want to Continue Your ELT Professional Development?

I offer various ELT publications on teaching English as a foreign language. 

In these publications, I put the gist of my experience in TEFL for +20 years with various learners and in various environments and cultures.

The techniques and tips in these publications are sure-fire teaching methods that worked for me well and they can work for you, as well, FOR SURE.

Go ahead and get a look at these publications to know more about each one of them and the problem & challenge each one focuses on to overcome.

Then, you can get what you have an interest in. It is very easy and cheap. You can afford it and you’ll never regret it if you decide to get one of them, FOR SURE.

Now, click to get a look at my Publications

Want to be TEFL Certified?

Register for this live webcast. It is FREE

Leave a Reply