Ways to Engage Different Types of Learners in the Classroom

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All students have different gifts and ways of learning. Learning more about our students helps us to better meet each student’s individual needs and to better engage students in the learning process.

There are seven main types of learners: visual, aural/auditory, verbal/linguistic, physical/kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, social/interpersonal, and solitary/intrapersonal. While students don’t necessarily fit distinctly into one category, many students do have a dominant learning style. Learning how to teach lessons that involve all of these learning styles will help ensure that all students get to interact with a way of learning that works for them. Allowing students the chance to learn material in the way that works best for them is a gift from which all students can benefit.

Below is a brief description of each of the seven learning styles and specific ways to engage these types of learners in the classroom:

Visual Learners

Visual learners enjoy learning by seeing things. These students tend to learn better with visual clues such as pictures and images that help them process new information. Many traditional classrooms already provide a lot of support to visual learners.

There are many ways to incorporate lessons into the classroom to make them geared toward visual learners. When introducing new vocabulary, prepare a slide show of images to illustrate the new words. Also, concept mapping can help visual learners to outline and organize ideas.

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Video clips can also help bring learning to life for the visual learners. In science class, watch videos of erupting volcanoes. In language arts, share clips from plays and movies to demonstrate different grammatical or literary concepts. In social studies, show travel videos of different countries around the world. There are also really funny, cheesy videos that students love where someone explains a concept in creative and entertaining ways. Visual learners will appreciate all of these videos.

Another great option for visual learners are Virtual Reality (VR) field trips. Google offers a variety of VR trips that students can take to explore all kinds of topics. Students can tour the Louvre, the Grand Canyon, and even the human body and its cells.

Aural (Auditory) Learners

Aural learners, also known as auditory learners, enjoy using sounds to help learn information. They need to hear information to be able to absorb it best. Listening, whether to a podcast, a teacher, or a song, is one of their top skills to utilize in the classroom.

Anytime you can link learning to music in the classroom, aural learners are likely to be engaged. Teachers can incorporate music whenever possible in lessons. Auditory learners enjoy learning songs to help memorize information. When facts are put to music, these learners have an easier time learning the information. Music can also be used to introduce new content. In language arts class, students can listen to a song and listen for specific parts of speech or specific vocabulary words. In foreign language classes, students can listen to music and try to determine what the main idea of the song might be.

Many aural learners like to use audio books. These audio books allow students to read along as they listen to someone reading the words in their novels. Teachers can have times where the entire class is listening to the audio book or other times where individual students can have the option to use an audio book if it helps them to better comprehend what they are reading.

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There are also a lot of educational podcasts that can help aural learners as well. Podcasts can be useful when a student wants to learn more about a given topic, but prefers not to read articles or stories.

Class discussions are a good tool for auditory learners. During a class discussion, students can listen to their classmates and their teacher. They can absorb what others are saying and reflect on what is being said. By listening, they can process the information in an easier way for them. Similarly, students can have a conversation with a partner to help hear information. As students share ideas back and forth, they are engaged and learning. This gives them the chance to hear what someone else has to say, but also allows them to participate in the conversation.

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There are also a lot of educational podcasts that can help aural learners as well. Podcasts can be useful when a student wants to learn more about a given topic, but prefers not to read articles or stories.

Verbal (Linguistic) Learners

Verbal learners (often referred to as linguistic learners) learn material best by using written and spoken words. These learners process information by expressing themselves. Many traditional classrooms are already set up to cater to the needs of linguistic learners.

Linguistic students will benefit from opportunities to write notes or journal. They are able to reflect and come up with new ideas through the act of writing. They often enjoy writing stories and having time to problem solve by brainstorming through writing. Teachers can give assignments that involve students writing stories or writing reflections about topics from class. They can also have students try to write solutions to real-life issues or try to write stories incorporating certain vocabulary words or grammatical concepts.

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Verbal learners also do well when given the opportunity to express themselves in discussions. These students process information as they share their thoughts with a partner, a small group, or an entire classroom full of students. The more these students can talk about the material, the more they will be able to understand the material.

In all subjects, these students might enjoy working on speeches or giving presentations. Both of these items require both writing and speaking. In math class, verbal learners might do better with word problems and might prefer to express their answer or reasoning in words.

Physical (Kinesthetic) Learners

Physical, or kinesthetic, learners enjoy using their bodies and movement in the learning process. These students also benefit from lessons that allow them to physically touch things in class. In traditional classrooms, physical learners sometimes do not have their needs met, as many teachers require students to stay in their assigned seats from bell to bell. By simply having students change seats and occasionally taking students outside, kinesthetic learners might become more engaged in class.

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Physical, or kinesthetic, learners enjoy using their bodies and movement in the learning process. These students also benefit from lessons that allow them to physically touch things in class. In traditional classrooms, physical learners sometimes do not have their needs met, as many teachers require students to stay in their assigned seats from bell to bell. By simply having students change seats and occasionally taking students outside, kinesthetic learners might become more engaged in class.

Whenever possible, letting students move in class can be extremely helpful to physical learners. In physics class, host a physics Olympics. Students can demonstrate and measure physics concepts such as speed, velocity, and more while competing and moving. In science class, use hands-on experiments as often as possible. Students will like getting the chance to move and be active as they process new concepts through the experiments. In English class, have students act out vocabulary words in a sort of charades-type game.

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Physical learners enjoy touching things in class, so it is a good idea to have physical objects available to help them understand a concept. When teaching about currency, bring in different currencies from around the world (Euros, Yen, Pounds, etc.) so students can handle them and see how they look and feel. For other class concepts, students might enjoy trying to illustrate them using sculpting clay or another hands-on medium.

Logical (Mathematical) Learners

Logical learners, also known as mathematical learners, enjoy using numbers and reason to learn in the classroom. They thrive on linear and logical thoughts. These students prefer things to be organized and straightforward.

Logical learners want things presented to them in a way that makes sense. By having an organized plan for class, these students will feel more comfortable in the classroom. Posting a daily schedule of activities will help logical learners follow the plan for the day. Logical learners also appreciate a long-term outline of each unit and the overall class so they are able to see a clear beginning, middle, and end to the process.

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Using guided notes is a great way to present information for logical learners. They will be able to see where the lesson is heading in a more linear fashion. They will also appreciate numbers being used to explain things (i.e. “There are three important rules to remember during this science lab.”) They can mentally check a box when each number of a series is presented to them.

In class, offer many opportunities for problem solving. The logical thinkers like to be given an issue or problem and the opportunity to try to work out a logical solution. They perform well when they have the chance to process the logic and sense behind problems and their solutions. They also enjoy classifying and sorting objects. Any time items or ideas can be sorted, this will help engage these learners.

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These mathematical students learn well by completing puzzles. Try to find puzzles you can use in class so they can practice new information. Crossword puzzles or logic puzzles can provide just the right amount of challenge for these students.

Social (Intrapersonal) Learners

Solitary learners, also known as intrapersonal learners, enjoy working alone to process information. These students prefer to process information by themselves rather than interacting with their peers.

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To engage intrapersonal learners, offer students the chance to work alone if they prefer it. Provide these students with time in class for quiet, calm reflection. Allowing opportunities for reading and writing in an individual setting can help inspire solitary learners to delve deeper into the new material.

If students feel uncomfortable in a larger group, offer them the chance to ask questions in smaller settings. You can also let them write the teacher a letter or an email to express some of their thoughts if necessary. By honoring their desire to be more solitary, these students will feel safe and welcome in the classroom and will be able to focus more on learning.

Social (Interpersonal) Learners

Social, or interpersonal, learners enjoy learning most when interacting with others. These social students are always looking for ways to talk to or work with their peers. Anytime students can get involved with other students in class, social learners will be more likely to be excited about the lesson.

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By encouraging partner and group assignments, social learners will be more engaged in the learning process. Interpersonal learners will enjoy working in study groups to review before tests. Interactive games where group members work together can also be a great option for these types of students. Another option is to have these students create skits about the lesson or to role-play new material they are learning.



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All students learn differently. The more diverse the classroom, the more diverse our teaching methods need to be. It is always important to offer different strategies to benefit students’ individual styles and preferences. By varying the choices in methods and assignments, students can pick a path where they can be most successful and feel most engaged in the learning process.

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