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Applying Awareness of Learning Styles to Teaching

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

It is important to know about learning styles, but awareness is not the whole story. In this lesson, you will learn about how you can apply what you know about learning styles to improve your teaching.

What Are Learning Styles?

For a long time, Ms. Heart, a fourth grade teacher, has been feeling like her teaching only meets the needs of some students. She works hard and plans carefully, but she senses that though all of her students are happy, not all of them are learning as much as they can from her curriculum. Recently, though, Ms. Heart attended a workshop where she learned about learning styles. Put simply, learning styles are different ways of absorbing, processing and remembering new concepts and skills. Ms. Heart begins to understand that every student really does learn differently, so it's not a big surprise that one teaching style will simply not meet everyone's needs. She begins to think about concrete classroom strategies she can use to meet the needs of more of her students more of the time.

Teaching Visual Learners

One style that Ms. Heart learns about is visual learning. Learners who tend to have a visual style can get a great deal out of pictures, diagrams, maps and graphic organizers. These learners may not retain information that is presented aurally. Ms. Heart decides to adopt the following strategies to teach to the needs of the visual learners in her class:

  • Using color coding and labeled diagrams to organize her classroom materials, notebooks and binders
  • Drawing and outlining on the Smartboard when she teaches direct lessons
  • Allowing students to draw their own pictures and diagrams as a way of processing new concepts and skills
  • Incorporating visuals like maps, pictures, and diagrams into lessons in social studies and science
  • Encouraging the use of visualization as a reading comprehension strategy

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