Before you can reach your learners you need to know how they learn best. Some students are visual learners. Others are auditory learners. The remaining are tactile-kinesthetic learners.
You can find dozens of learning style inventories online. There are some that are web-based and many printable versions. Which you choose to use depends on the age level of your students, the depth you want to go, and the technology available. Your Talented and Gifted (TAG) coordinator may have some materials as well.
Below I describe just three different options that informally identify students as Visual, Auditory, or Tactile-Kinesthetic learners.
#1 Discover Your Own Learning Style has 18 questions for students to answer. The results will identify a student as Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic (V-A-K). There are many links with additional information. The survey is probably best geared towards upper elementary school. This site has three options:
- Take the inventory online (Students tally their own responses by color.)
- Print a webpage version (Looks just like the online version, students circle letters.)
- Print a PDF file. (This would be the most difficult version for a student to grade.)
#2 Learning Style Inventory – This printable PDF file would be best suited for 7th-12th grade. It has two options: a Learning Style Inventory and a Learning Style Assessment. After that, and best of all, there are 4 pages full of hints, strategies, and suggestions for each type of learner. These are practical, useful, real life ideas that will benefit students in all subject areas.
#3 This link will take you to an pdf file of an English Language Learners Inventory. It has some cartoon-like graphics with each prompt. (FYI, the actual inventory starts on pg. 57) Check out the entire PDF. It includes a variety of surveys, tools, and ideas to use with ELL students. I think that this could be modified and used with very young children as well.
As I already knew, I am a visual learner. My results were consistent with all of the surveys and inventories I took.
What is your learning style?
Do you have a favorite tool you use with your students?
- Find out What Type of Learner you are (educatorstechnology.com)
- The Relationship between Learning Styles and Academic Performance (brighthub.com)
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, by Howard Gardner, suggests there are
seven eight ways that people can be intelligent. (The 8th, Naturalist Intelligence, was added at a later date.)
Teachers need to be aware of these 8 categories so they can reach all learners. By recognizing, tapping into, and catering to all the intelligences students will be able to make connections across many dimensions.
Obviously, a single lesson probably cannot incorporate all 8 of these categories, but here they are for you to consider then next time you plan a lesson.
Linguistic Intelligence – This is your “Book Smart” or “Word Smart” learner. Your readers and writers.
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – This is the student who is “Number Smart.” Loves math, thinks logically, recognizes patterns.
Interpersonal Intelligence – These folks are “People Smart.” They work well with others.
Intrapersonal Intelligence – This type of learner is what they call “Self Smart.” They are always in tune with their inner being.
Musical Intelligence – The performers, composers, and lovers of music….the “Music Smart”.
Spatial Intelligence – “Picture Smart” people. Also referred to as Visual-Spatial Intelligence.
Kinesthetic Intelligence – The learner who is “Body Smart” – Motor skills, coordination, athleticism
Naturalistic Intelligence – The “Nature Smart” individual who sees and values connections in the environment.