I’ve finally discovered my own learning styles.
It seems like I’m a linguistic-interpersonal learner. I knew that, no surprise! I’ve always been one of those learners interested and focused on speaking and writing. I love reading aloud activities, love communicating through language. I’m sure I would have loved having role-plays in my English classes, but unfortunately I’ve never done one in my high-school. Now I feel I can understand what and why was happening in my classes. We mainly worked alone, no group works, always focused on self-study and individual tasks. My teacher was probably a solitary (interpersonal) learner. That is good, but is it correct to plan and teach according to our learning styles?
Over the last few years the terms learning styles have been used many times in any classroom management course. The message should be: the more you know your students’ learning styles the better your activity planning will be. Not as simple as it looks, but crucial. Knowing the learning styles we like and which we tend to avoid can increase the effectiveness of our learning, and if we want our students to learn more effectively we should look for different activities which might suit different learning styles.
Let’s find out how they learn
I teach teens and pre-teens, here are a few steps I would follow with any new class:
- Step 1: ask your students to complete a learning styles questionnaire. Here is a link from the Birmingham Grid for Learning.
- Step 2 : check with students by proposing a series of activities good for each different learning style. Observe your students, take notes of how they react to each activity and see if they match with your questionnaire.
For a list of sample activities for the most common learning styles look at this infographic:
I’ve also found these Five Multiple Intelligences Activities by Puchta and Rinvolucri very useful.
- Step 3: the school year is quite long, so try to remember the most successful activities for each class and get them to know they all have similar and different learning styles. You can group students according to them, or better let them work with classmates with different learning styles.
Use your results as a precious resource, but do not over trust them, in my experience, teenagers easily change their mood. Always consider that they can still act as different learners.