Ways of Learning – Learning Styles:
How do we learn best?
There are several ways of thinking about how we learn best.
Using Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner created a revolution in education when he described not just one, but 7 or 8 or more different kinds of intelligences. They are listed below. While Gardner said these were different ways that people are smart, many teachers took this to mean that these were different ways students could learn in school. It is hard to picture using musical or mathematical intelligence to learn literature or history.
I found it helpful to include several of these “intelligences” in most of my lesson plans. But that wasn’t an effort to teach each student using their strongest intelligence. It was simply knowing that everyone learns better (and finds learning is more fun) when a variety of methods are used.
If you haven’t already done this, you should read through the list of Intelligences and list them from your strongest to your weakest area. But don’t think you need to learn on with your strong styles. The more styles you use, the more you will understand and the easier it is to remember. This is because your brain will store the information in different areas.
The Seven Intelligences
- “Linguistic Intelligence:” This is sometimes called Verbal/Linguistic. It includes reading, writing, speaking, abstract reasoning, story telling and more.
- “Logical-Mathematical Intelligence”
- “Spatial Intelligence” This is often called Visual/Spatial. It includes art, architecture and other areas that require the ability to visualize.
- “Musical Intelligence”
- “Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence” This includes dance, gymnastics, sports, and other physical skills.
- “Interpersonal Intelligence” I prefer to call this Social Intelligence.
- “Intrapersonal Intelligence” I call this reflective Intelligence. It is about knowing yourself.
An OLDER and BETTER way to think about Learning Styles
It was usually called VAK: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. We learn by what we see, what we hear and what we do. I can’t see a reason for calling it VAK. I’d think of See – Hear – Do.
I actually would prefer to think about VVAK : Verbal, Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic styles. In simple words, we learn as we Read – See – Hear – Do. There are many people who have difficulty learning through reading but learn easily using visuals such as charts and diagrams.
How do you learn best?
In Kindergarten and the first several grades, most children learn best with Kinesthetic learning – also called hands-on learning. It is easy enough to teach simple math and science by moving little manipulatives around. In fact, it’s my favorite way of teaching fractions to students of all ages. You might have acted out certain historical events. You might have used visual learning if you learned about frogs or butterflies by raising them in the classroom and observing th stages in their life cycle.
But, as you got a little older, more of your lessons were based on reading your textbooks and listening to the teacher. That is verbal learning and auditory learning, and usually some visual learning if there were pictures, maps, charts, etc. Only in science classes is there generally still some kinesthetic learning as students do experiments or dissect something.
How will this Website help you use more styles of learning?
1. You will need to use Reading and Listening Skills, so there are pages to help you improve these and other Learning Skills.
2. After you have read the book or listened to the teacher, there are many ways to organize this information. Here we suggest five verbal methods, using speaking or writing, and five visual methods including a variety of different charts and diagrams.
Many students are strong VISUAL LEARNERS and have trouble learning just from reading and listening. Visual strategies are also more active forms of learning.
3. In the section on Memory, there are suggestions for using Reading, Seeing, Listening and Doing (Kinesthetic Learning) to help you remember.
4. It is important to use a varieties of these learning strategies. This will help you understand more, remember longer and do better on tests.