Mis à jour : 7 août 2020
By Ruth Avison Dang, founder and director at Pep English
Have you ever thought about how you learn ? How you absorb, comprehend and retain information ? Three common learning styles are identified as Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Individuals can have one or a combination. There certainly is no monopoly of intelligence however understanding, your way, will increase your progress and enjoyment of the learning process.
VISUAL Visual learners learn with their eyes. They associate ideas, concepts, data and other information with images. They observe and notice details. They learn by taking notes and may use highlighters and categorised colour coded systems to help them assemble information. Visual learners like to see the people they talk to. They watch mouth movements and expressions, observing not only what is said, but how using non verbal communication or body language affects meaning . Visual learners may struggle with verbal instructions if no visual stimuli is available. AUDITORY Auditory learners learn by listening. They need to hear to understand and may have difficulty with written instructions or see them as pointless. Auditory learners may or may not need to take notes and can retain and capture concepts from listening with ease. They can listen to the radio and be involved, enjoy music and listening to audio books. These learners are easily distracted in the absence of spoken instructions.
KINESTHETIC The kinesthetic learner learns by doing. For these learners, role-play as well as interactive and structured games work very well. Using tools like learning blocks which connect words to make sentences or board games are effective ways to practise, improve performance and increase student confidence. A kinesthetic learner may struggle to concentrate when it is not interactive.
What exactly determines your style? Many factors in fact, including upbringing, personal experience, cognitive, emotional and even environmental factors making each student and their approach to learning unique.
Why does this style matter? A good teacher can find the best approach to help you learn the way that best fits your needs. It is important to consider all learning styles when teaching, giving a presentation or explaining anything effectively.
There are a number of ways of activating motivation for all.
Games Movement games are particularly appealing and effective for kinesthetic learners but also work for others. An example of this is when they are challenged to move and describe what they are doing. « I am standing up now, but I was sitting a moment ago. » The game is a sort of grammar gym which can include statements of what was done yesterday, a moment ago, or what they will do next. This game makes brain and body connections needed to understand and retain how the words feel with the appropriate stress. Another idea is to use a ball to revise, finding the response before catching the ball.
In using games, students are encouraged to think ‘on their feet’ and practise tenses or vocabulary while making the physical connections between brain and body. Memory is strengthened with play.
Another game involves asking questions in a circle while throwing a ball. Each time the ball is thrown to a different student, a question is asked and the answer expected without hesitation. This creates thinking agility while practising listening and speaking. Students are kept on their toes thinking of answers to all questions asked as they never know when the ball will be thrown to them.
It also serves as training for real life situations where they have to think on their feet like answering telephone calls at work or replying to someone asking you something unexpectedly in the street.
Keeping students active, involves those who may hide behind classmates who are more engaged or energetic. These types of games engage both adults and children. Using tools like flashcards or learning blocks or board games are effective ways to practise, improve performance and increase student confidence because they are using and playing with the language. Corporate clients can be asked to stand up and explain something using a white board or participate in a debate or role-play relevant to their line of work.
Involvement The common thread for learners is involvement. A student’s degree of attention, curiosity, enthusiasm and dedication is directly related to their motivation. Studies show that students who are engaged are more focused and attentive. This in turn helps them have more meaningful learning experiences and reach their learning goals. In a classroom, the teacher has a pace. Students should also be encouraged to review & practise outside the classroom at their own pace.
Where, Purpose, Time Seeking out the student’s perfect study environment helps to set the scene. Some prefer quiet book-filled places like libraries. Others may prefer a busy café, a park or river bank. Whatever the location, the right spot for you increases productivity. It is really important to be in-tune with what it is that works best for you.
Time of study matters. It’s not only about the right duration, but also the time of day and preferences here are just as individual. The morning person may enjoy an 5am study session because that is when they feel the most energised, while the night owl may work best much later, using their day as stimuli for ideas. Regardless of when works best individually, it is generally helpful to encourage routine. Students learn better when they plan their time and learn consistently with clear objectives instead of leaving things to the last minute and relying on adrenaline generated by stress.
What is the purpose of putting in the time and work? A student’s purpose in learning will certainly drive study motivation. Goals are a great inspiration. Perhaps the student is aiming to pass an exam, planning a trip to an English speaking country or needs to Improve for a current job or learning to find a new job. Direction and purpose helps individuals take steps to move forward. Teachers who understand their students' goals and motivation and can design lessons and experiences to better tap into these will observe better motivation and results.
By understanding how you learn best and participating fully in the learning experience, the chances of success greatly increase for both students and teachers because the learning is useful and relevant to you.
Copyright 2020 Ruth Avison Dang.
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