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How to Adapt Your Teaching Style & Lesson Plans to Different Learning Styles

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Are you looking for a way to adapt your teaching style to different learning styles? Check out this article that suggests tips for how to do so successfully.

Every Student is Different

As a teacher, you're well aware that the education space is always evolving. These days, there's a heavy focus on personalization in the classroom - and for good reason. The school system has grown to recognize that the once-common strategy of using the exact same instructional methods and assignments with every student may not be the most effective approach. One way to avoid falling into that trap is to adapt your lesson plans to each individual student's learning style. Here are a few tips for how to be successful in this worthwhile endeavor.

A teacher helps her students find their learning style

Help Your Students Find Their Learning Styles

In order to address different learning styles, you have to determine the various learning types present in your classroom. We suggest assessing your students to figure out whether they're visual, auditory, read/write, or kinesthetic learners. These assessments can be a quick and simple, like this quiz. The results will not only help you learn how to best meet the needs of your students, but also give them some valuable information about themselves that can improve their self-awareness and, with encouragement from you, help them to develop a sense of ownership in terms of how they approach their education. Perhaps your students will even develop the agency to speak up when they feel they need to have a lesson modified to meet their learning style.

A kinesthetic learner uses Legos to learn about fractions

Differentiate Lessons Based on Learning Style

When creating lesson plans, you should always consider what learning style(s) the lesson will engage and ask yourself how you can include the other learning styles represented in your classroom. When teaching the lesson, you can either differentiate your instruction by giving different students different assignments based on their learning styles, or by including multiple activities and forms of instruction that will target all of the learning styles.

For example, let's say you're teaching a lesson on fractions. In order to target auditory learners, you can start the lesson by delivering a lecture explaining the concepts at hand. For the read/write learners, you can pass out a worksheet with the concepts explained in writing and accompanied by blanks that students can fill in as they listen to your lecture. And for your visual and kinesthetic learners, you can hand out different sizes of Legos to illustrate the concept of equivalent fractions. It might take a little bit of extra prep, but approaching a lesson plan in this way will help you to make sure you're reaching every one of your students.

A read/write learner works on a worksheet

Address Multiple Learning Styles at Once

As you can see in the example above, some lesson plans can address more than one learning style at the same time. For example, online lessons with both videos and transcripts are an effective way to reach visual, read/write, and auditory learners all at once. The video will engage your visual learners, while its narration will target auditory learners. Read/write learners can opt in to read the transcript.

These types of resources are plentiful on the Internet and can be used for both in-class instruction, to preview or review a certain topic, or to flip your classroom and allow your students to learn a concept on their own. Using this type of material can help you save time while also addressing multiple learning styles.

Lesson Plans for Everybody

Ultimately, adapting your teaching style to address different learning styles doesn't have to be difficult. It starts with being aware that your classroom contains a multitude of different types of learners and the desire to help reach them all equally. You might have to be a bit more proactive, creative, and thoughtful about your lesson plans, but we don't have to tell you that a little extra effort is worth it to help your students thrive. And, thankfully, online resources can help to make the work much easier for you. Good luck!

Looking for reliable, consistent videos to use in your classroom? Check out the Study.com library, which contains thousands of lessons on all topics, and for all grade levels.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
December 2018
teachers teacher tips

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