Understanding the Different Types of Learning in Your Classroom

Learning in the Classroom

As a teacher, you are bound to come across a variety of students in your classroom with different backgrounds, tastes, abilities, etc. Inevitably, you will also find that your students receive information differently. Being able to recognize these varying learning styles is so important because you don’t want to teach everyone the same way and you must be able to adapt the way you teach to accommodate everyone and give them the best chance at succeeding. Take a look at the different learning types in the classroom and best practices to work with them.


Visual Learning

Someone who is a visual learner best receives information when they can see it in front of them. They might ask for a demonstration to see how something is done before they feel comfortable to dive into it themselves. They learn best with the use of maps, charts, and diagrams to better understand what is presented before them. Here are some things to do when working with visual learners:


  • Using flowcharts, webs, and charts to organize information


  • Use highlighted or color-coded notes to relate material better


  • Write checklists for formulas and commonly misspelled words


Auditory Learning

These students learn best through listening whether it be from spoken word or various sounds and noises. Some of these students might be very musically talented, so they may sing, or play in the school band. While your lesson may not be based on music, there are still many ways to accommodate these learners so that they can also feel part of the lesson. Best practices when dealing with auditory learners include:


  • Strike up a conversation with the student about the particular lesson


  • While in class have the students recite the information by asking questions for students to answer out loud


  • Get creative and have them put the material to a tune or rhythm for them to go over with you later


Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learners are going to want a more hands-on and physical experience with the material. Simply put, they learn best by doing. They enjoy actively going through the motions and feel the material within their body. Unlike visual learners who want to see something before they give it a shot, kinesthetic learners will want to dive right in and pick things up as they go along. Some best practices for working with kinesthetic learners are:


  • Having them write down notes on paper while they listen to the lesson


  • Maybe dramatize different concepts and have the students move objects around to act it out for themselves


  • Use some body movement while explaining something such as finger snapping, foot tapping, or even just mouthing ideas.


Honorable Mentions: Social and Solitary Learners

There are also some types of learners that are not as common as the three listed above but are still worth being aware of. Social Learners are the ones who work great in group settings. They are the students who are active in the school participating in clubs and sports and have no problem working with others. Solitary Learners are students who take to themselves more often than not. They typically come off as shy because they aren’t quick to raise their hand to ask/answer a question. They will usually try to figure things out on their own before deciding to come to you for help.

Seven Habits of Affective Teachers

teacher-702998_1920As a teacher you wear many hats. In addition to teaching the curriculum, teachers handle the emotional responses of their students. Compartmentalizing your life can lead to your own frustration, and then later down the road, miscommunication, blame and even anxiety. To avoid negative feelings, you should cultivate habits that will help you handle the emotional needs of your students. The changes you wish to see begin with your own initiative. Making minute changes in your behavior is one small step towards becoming an affective educator. Here are some habits to keep in mind:


1) Enjoy other’s success.

Becoming a teacher is a selfless pursuit. As you create a plan to reach your personal goals, do not focus solely on yourself. Find joy in the accomplishments of those around you. Whether it’s a student, or a fellow teacher, investing some of yourself in their happiness will only create more positivity for you. As you enjoy the success of those around you, you’ll be constantly reminded of the joy you find in teaching.


2) Reframe your perspective.

Oftentimes, your perspective on a situation will determine your attitude, and your actions. It can determine whether you feel empowered and optimistic, or pessimistic and defeated.  Step back and recognize what the issue truly is. Is it part of a bigger problem? How can you reframe the problem to effectively handle it? Reframing your perspective can create hope in situations that at once seemed difficult.


3) Stop categorizing people.

It’s easy to categorize the people around us into groups defined by basic attributes. But when you categorize people, you limit your expectations of them. If you view someone as a fully developed thinker, they hold more value, and you are less likely to dismiss their contributions. Avoid simplifying people, so you can really understand their strengths and contributions.


4) Discuss the ethics of teaching.

Spark a discussion with your colleagues about your teaching practices. While it may seem daunting to invite others to express their opinions on teaching, the result can be constructive professional development. Discuss your teaching methods, processes and goals. This doesn’t have to be a single discussion, and it can lead to developments throughout the academic year.


5) Value humility.

Before you embrace a new idea, you have to recognize that your previous method was less effective. You should not be self conscious of your previous methods. By embracing humility, you will grow more comfortable with being wrong. By revising our own thinking and inviting others to provide constructive development, we are demonstrating our own willingness to change and learn.


6) Value intellect.

Teaching the same curriculum year after year can foster complacency. Soon, you will simply going through the motions, rather than providing fulfilling instruction. Cultivate and embrace your own intellect by writing for other publications, exploring your own teaching goals, and reflecting on your own career. Growing your own intellect will strengthen your passion for teaching.


7) Keep teaching fun.

If you maintain a playful attitude toward teaching, your students will be engaged and enjoy learning the subject material. Having fun in the classroom will keep students entertained, and show them that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
For more about being an affective teacher, read here.