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What is Your Way of Learning?

Dernière mise à jour : 11 août 2020

Created by Ruth Avison, Founder & Director of Pep English

Learning styles for different brain types & advice on how to reach your full potential.

For all brain types, learning happens any time anywhere & can come from anything in your life, what happens in the classroom is just a fraction of your learning potential.

Therefore, the most important point to remember when learning is to encourage your own self-awareness about what works for you so you can become autonomous as a language user.

Independence is the key to lifelong learning.

In the classroom we can achieve better results when we understand how we function so you can find your own specific way. There is no monopoly of intelligence in these different learning styles. It is simply a case of understanding & accepting your own way and going with what works for you.

There are a variety of learning styles & some people have a mixture of different styles, being aware of this makes concentration easier & your learning will be more long-term & in-depth as a result.

The Main learning styles:

We all have a dominant learning style which can change depending on the situation. We often have several which we use to adapt to different contexts. There are eight learning styles in total :

  1. Visual learners

  2. Auditory learners

  3. Verbal learners

  4. Social learners

  5. Logical learners

  6. Physical and tactile learners

  7. Solitary learners

  8. Naturalist learners

The Visual learner:

Visual learners retain information more effectively when visual aids are used, such as, pictures, images, film clips, colours and diagrams. They are also good at understanding visual data presented in maps, charts and graphs. 90% of people who come to me at Pep English, for a level test & needs analysis think they are visual.

Strategies to adopt for visual learners:

  • Try to picture what you are learning to give it a clearer context in your mind

  • Visual analogies and metaphors help with visual imagery.

  • Sometimes graphics are not easy to find so consider writing key points down for visual cues.

  • Use APPS to create flashcards that are visually meaningful to you

  • Substitute words for colours and pictures where it makes sense to do so.

  • Write things down which will provide a context when visualising what you have learnt after class.

  • Put up post-its in different areas of your home of new language and every time you pass that area, make a sentence or say it aloud, linking the language point to a context you could easily experience in real life.

  • Colour emphasises key points in text. Using a highlighter or coloured pens.

  • Avoid using large blocks of text with no images. When image is not possible break up your text into boxes or shapes so you can identify them easily when revising.

  • Create context through mind maps or flow charts.

  • Use storytelling to help with visualisation.

  • Colour-code and organise or file any materials you receive as this helps organise things in your mind.

  • Visualise using phrases, not just grammar charts or vocabulary.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners respond particularly well to sounds, music, recordings, rhymes, rhythms etc. They remember conversations well and music causes an emotional response in them. They often find just sitting in front of a page of exercises pointless or frustrating. Some do not feel the need to take notes as they are able to stock information easily in context-boxes in their minds.

Strategies to adopt for auditory learners:

  • Participating in discussions & listening to other people really helps.

  • If reading is required opt for audio books when appropriate or possible.

  • Listen to music that helps your concentration as you revise.

  • When possible record important information for future reference.

  • Pair up and explain & develop concepts with others in class.

  • When problem-solving, speak aloud. Even when alone, using your own voice to work things out really helps.

  • When reading notes at home, do it aloud.

  • Use mnemonic devises (memory system techniques) for associating learning with places or landmarks or rhyming, using acronyms or chunking information or images. This method can be adapted to help most learner styles.

Verbal learners

Verbal learners favour using words and linguistic skills in speech and in writing, such as, reading, writing, listening or speaking. They like word games, puns and rhymes etc. and are often strong public speakers. They need to use their voices & play with language to make sense of concepts.

Strategies to adopt for verbal learners:

  • Use your voice when preparing writing activities, do not be afraid of talking to yourself.

  • Discussions & presentations help make things stick.

  • Use acronyms or mnemonic devices (memory techniques).

  • Read aloud. Try reading in a varied way rather than in monotone.

  • Role-playing in a way that is meaningful to you & making short presentations or delivering an elevator pitch (short description of yourself).

  • Your learning is greatly helped when you have to explain things to others, this helps anchor things that may not have been totally clear.

  • Put up post-its in different areas of your home of new language and every time you pass that area, make a sentence or say it aloud, linking the language point to a context you could easily experience in real life.

  • Make verbal summaries or more complicated information.

  • Use APPS to create quizzes when revising.

Social learners

Social learners process information by interacting with and relating to others. They enjoy working with others and are often strong leaders.

Strategies to adopt for social learners:

  • Do not be afraid to be inquisitive and ask others what they think about a concept/ topic /idea.

  • Put up post-its in different areas of your home of new language and every time you pass that area, make a sentence or say it aloud, linking the language point to a context you could easily experience in real life.

  • Bounce ideas off of each other and compare ideas with others.

  • Discuss and share stories.

  • Group & pair- work is a strong aid for your learning.

  • A guided discovery approach through discussion works well. This enables you to find the answers yourself with others & enhances memorisation.

  • Role-play is an excellent approach for social learners.

  • Involvement in the learning process is essential.

Logical learners

Logical learners favour using logic and reasoning. They like to classify and categorise information and solve problems with data & numbers. Logical learners are especially good at analysing cause and effect relationships. They really need to understand why language works in certain ways and can get frustrated when the logic is unclear.

Strategies to adopt for logical learners:

  • Problem-solving tasks help because you can work out how things work for yourself.

  • Guided discovery techniques are a good aide, having someone ask specific questions so you can come to logical conclusions yourself enhances long-term memorisation.

  • Get into the habit of interpreting abstract information & summarising.

  • Critical thinking exercises are important.

  • Statistics and facts can be brought into things that appear unclear.

  • Finding evidence or proof of concepts is essential for you to take things seriously and as a result remember them.

  • It is important for you to be able to understand the structure /thread of learning. If this is not clear, motivation is easily lost which could result in you giving up.

  • Patterns & habits really help, so you know what to expect in class.

  • Tables and charts summarising data or information is very important.

  • Clear conclusions or language summaries at the end of each section really help. This can be created by yourself to make it even more constructive.

Physical and tactile learners

Practical learners process information effectively when they use their bodies and when they are actually doing something. They put their learning into practice.

Strategies to adopt for physical and tactile learners:

  • Physical exercises & hands-on experiences enhance progress.

  • Exercises where you can be standing or walking are very effective.

  • Use a pen and paper to map out your thoughts and problem-solving because writing is still a physical exercise.

  • Learning in a large space is more reassuring so you feel you can move.

  • Draw yourself diagrams, graphs and maps.

  • Interacting with physical objects or solving puzzles helps you make sense of concepts.

  • Challenge yourself when revising by throwing a ball and finding the answer by the time you have caught it.

  • Role-playing.

  • Real life examples, such as case studies are far more useful than artificial examples.

  • Review notes whilst engaging in physical activity.

  • Explain or teach other class members some of the lesson content.

  • When you visualise, consider the sensations that would be felt, such as, "The rain was hitting me hard in the face." This helps to make better sense of things and remember them as a result.

Solitary learners

Solitary learners like to work and learn by themselves and self-study. They may come across as shy or cold as they keep to themselves. If solitary learners feel comfortable during training, they are more likely to speak up during presentations or group work.

Strategies to adopt for solitary learners:

  • Writing things down and preparing for things helps when in the real situation.

  • Practise things as much as possible

  • Individual problem-solving exercises help to make sense of concepts.

  • It is important to understand why lesson material is important as you are often interested in outcomes.

  • Track your progress by making charts that are easily revised or updated as you proceed.

  • Put up post-its in different areas of your home of new language and every time you pass that area, make a sentence or say it aloud, linking the language point to a context you could easily experience in real life.

  • It is important to keep binders with previous work and tests.

  • Create summaries of more complicated information & links between what has been previously learned/should know and new concepts.

  • Preparation is the key, the more you are prepared the better you will feel.

  • Create, charts, lists and tables to clarify information.

  • When practising new language try to speak aloud so your brain retains it better.

Naturalist learners

Naturalist learners process information by working with and experiencing nature. They learn by finding patterns in nature and using scientific logic for understanding.

Strategies to adopt for naturalist learners:

  • Real experiments help to make sense of what you are learning.

  • Imagine a new ecosystem, for example, & try finding patterns. This will help link concepts together.

  • Identify and classify information to retain.

  • Image things with real life examples linking to daily life, people or nature.

  • Observational data, such as case studies or maps help make connections.

  • Revising outside is more productive.

  • Going for long walks to find solutions or revise or listen to a class can make it more motivating.

  • Challenge yourself with tasks per day that you need to find the solution for by a certain point in time.

  • When you cannot be outside for revision, have some background sounds of nature or running water.

  • Put up post-its in different areas of your home of new language and every time you pass that area, make a sentence or say it aloud, linking the language point to a context you could easily experience in real life.

By being aware of your style(s), you can go further with your learning. The most important point is to be open to learning in & outside of the classroom. Nothing feels better than when you have been involved in your own learning process & are able to interpret information in a way that works for you.

Just like the Chinese proverb says:

Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish & he will eat for life.

In a nutshell, learning English in context in a way that is adapted to your style gives you the opportunity and represents the fishing rod, enabling learning to happen at any time because you know how to fish for new language.

Useful vocabulary from this article:

· Self-awareness = you know yourself. - Self-awareness helps you reach success.

· To be aware (of) = To know (formal) – I am aware I need to work on my English

· To achieve something = To succeed – I achieved my goal to speak fluent English

· To go with something = follow / not to resist – I will go with what is best for me

· In-depth = to do something deeply / in detail – I had an in-depth conversation in English, I have achieved my goal!

· Several – many (formal) – We have several students who are taking exams this year.

· Such as = like / similar to (formal) – I like sports such as sailing and CrossFit

· In your mind=your thinking – In my mind, learning a new language opens your mind

· A highlighter = a florescent pen you can use to highlight (colour in bold) key words

· To avoid = to keep away from – Please do not avoid using your new language as much as possible.

· Break up = separate – I like to break things up so I can understand the context. He broke up with his wife last year. Colours break up in water

· Shapes = forms – a circle / square are shapes – I can see the shape of the tree in the darkness.

· To opt for = to choose / decide on – She opted for a holiday in Switzerland this year

· Speak aloud = speak with your voice – always speak aloud when revising your vocabulary

· Landmarks= special places to see of take note of – Big Ben is a landmark in London

· Puns = playing with words – Headlines (titles) in newspapers sometimes use puns

· Rather than= instead of (formal) – He chose blue rather than red

· Involvement = being part of something – her involvement in the project was important

· To be involved (in) = part of – I am involved in several projects at the moment

· A thread of learning= the guide / structure which helps you follow – A clear learning thread is vital when learning a language.

· To give up = to stop trying – I do not want to give up learning

· Patterns = shapes or systems that follow – There was a pattern of rebellious behavour in the 70s. I love the pattern on your shirt.

· Hands-on = interactive – Children need a hands-on approach when learning English

· To come across = to find by chance – while walking in New York, I came across a lovely little café

· To be likely to = probable – I am likely to speak English on holiday

· A link / to link – connect – there are many links between French and English

· In a nutshell = in brief / to summarise – In a nutshell, I now know my learner style(s)

· Enabling = to make something possible – The internet enables us to get immediate information

About Ruth Avison Dang

After years working in different schools in Geneva, I founded PEP English – Personalised English Progression, a language school in Geneva, Veyrier and Lausanne. We have EDUQUA which is the certified quality control label for schools. With over 20 years of experience with private, corporate clients & the state of Geneva, I have created an approach focusing on students’ needs, learner styles and objectives. My role leading PEP involves showing our students and that everyone can learn, with the right approach. I have always felt frustrated by the number of students telling me they are useless at English & have been attempting to learn for years to no avail. English is a lexical language & cannot be taught in the same way as a grammar-based language like French. Everyone has their way of integrating language and it is our job to find what works best for them to promote long-term proficiency. I personally oversee our students’ progress and work closely with our team of teachers to ensure that we deliver the best possible service in line with their particular needs, helping our students to reach their goals and obtain a 99% success rate in exams. I am also a course designer, course book and text editor, examiner & speech specialist. I create and teach, with my team, tailor-made, niche classes for professionals, including public speaking & courses for specific professional & recruitment needs, including partnerships with the public and private sectors.

Copyright 2020 Ruth Avison Dang.

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