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Get Ahead with Learning Styles

Many students find it difficult to study due to many reasons. Lack of interest, distractions in the environment, poor concentration—these are just some of the problems most students encounter, which hinder their learning ability. While some believe that poor learning ability is dependent on genes, Fleming (as cited in Hawk & Shah, 2007, p. 10) claims that cognition and retention is affected by the person’s learning style. Based on his idea, students can grasp lessons easily and do well in school if they make use of their learning styles.

People differ from each other in the way they look, speak, or behave. Likewise, they also differ in the way they learn. Based on Fleming’s theory, three learning styles emerged: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile. These learning styles play an important role in a person’s learning performance. Learning styles refer to the “variations in a person’s ability to accumulate as well as assimilate information” (Lpide. com, n. d. ) Each person has a learning style or a combination of learning styles, which allow learning things in their own way.

When managed correctly, these learning styles could facilitate learning and retention of knowledge. Therefore, it is important for teachers to find out the kind of learners they have in order to respond to their needs. One type of learners is the visual learner. From the term itself, these learners learn best by vision or seeing. They use their vision more than other senses when accumulating or assimilating information. Relying much on what they see, visual learners learn best with the use of text and visual aids such as pictures, figures, video clips, bulletin boards, etc.

They love to read and aim to sit in front of the class, in order to have the best view. In class, they feel the need to see the teacher, or anyone speaking, try to read the person’s lips, and focus on the speaker. Physical presentation matters to them, thus they get become interested if the speaker looks pleasant and attractive, and uses visuals to aid a speech or discussion. When handling this type of learners, a teacher should make it a point to vary visual aids through style, color, presentation, size, etc.

Responding to their need to visualize things, teachers should make use of colorful graphics, illustrations, of video to emphasize a lesson. Likewise, they should always make sure to look pleasant in front of the students, because a single thread hanging to a hemline or lipstick stain on one’s teeth can distract visual learners. To help them enrich learning at home, visual learners may be given additional texts to read and react on, or be assigned to research on a topic in advance. Another type of learner is the auditory learner.

Auditory learners are those who rely much on hearing or listening more than the other senses. Relying much on what they hear, these learners can listen to the teacher or speaker without much looking. However, they favor nice voice, eloquent speech, and good volume. They learn best by listening, thus do well in dictation tests, note-taking activities, discussions, presentation, and speech. To help auditory learners, the teacher should design lessons that involve listening activities. Listening to music, speech, poetry, etc. may help enrich learning.

While doing activities, the teacher could also play instrumental music to stir the senses of the students, and motivate them to think and perform well. The third but not the least, is kinesthetic or tactile type of learner. Kinesthetic learners are those who learn best by moving, acting, doing, and touching. These learners require a lot of movements to learn. To handle them, the teacher can assign them to do board work, draw/illustrate, dance, etc. Relying on movements, they also learn best by being involved and not just watching and standing by.

Thus, when demonstrating a procedure, it is best to have them help or be the one to perform the sample work. Being aware of one’s learning style can help students perform better in school. For instance, when reviewing for a test, a visual learner should have representations of concepts and terms to memorize on pieces of paper to be posted on the bedroom. This will allow easier recall and mastery. Likewise, an auditory learner can prepare for a test using recorded reviewer or asking someone else to read the lesson to one’s ears.

Moreover, for kinesthetic learners, it is best to allow them to illustrate the things to be reviewed on a big white board, in front of a review group or a friend.

References

Hawk, Thomas F. & Amit J. Shah. (2007). Using learning style instruments to enhance student learning. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education , 11; p. 10 Learning styles explained. (n. d. ) Retrieved July 30, 2009, from LdPride. net http://www. ldpride. net/learningstyles. MI. htm#types%20of%20learning%20styles

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