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Teaching Strategies to Approach Different Learning Styles

Janelle Cox

We all have a way in which we learn best, either through observing, listening, or touch. Odds are that each and every one of your students has a different way that they learn best, too. As you know, the more engaged a student is in her learning, the better her success rate is in the classroom. As teachers, we can use various teaching strategies to appeal to each of these different learning styles and provide our students with a unique experience that will meet all of their needs. Since we live in a digital world, your first thought may be, “How can I appeal to my students’ different learning styles through the use of technology?” While technology is wonderful tool to use in the classroom, the overuse of it has become a concern for many teachers. Here are a few teaching strategies in which you can accommodate students without the use of technology.

Teaching Strategies for Different Learning Styles

First and foremost, in order to appeal to different learning styles, you must know what each student’s preferred learning style is. You can easily do this by having students take a questionnaire. Once you know if they are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners, then you can begin to accommodate to their specific learning style.

Students may fit into one, two, or all three of the learning style categories. Some students may learn best just through observation, while another may learn best by observing and listening. Every child learns differently. It may seem like a lot of planning on your part in order to meet the needs of all students’ learning styles. However, since research shows that the majority of students favor more than one learning style, one single approach is not the best way to reach each student. Here is a breakdown of the three main learning styles and how each of these types of students learn best. In order to meet the needs of all students, you must incorporate each of these styles into your activities and lessons.

Visual Learners

A visual learner is someone who prefers seeing and observing things. They learn best by looking at pictures, videos, handouts, charts, diagrams, demonstrations or anything else that is visual. These students learn best by reading or watching someone else complete a task first.

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Tips for Accommodating

In order to appeal to these types of students, you can do the following.

  • Use flowcharts, maps, or graphic organizers.
  • Have students use a computer to type out their notes using different fonts.
  • Create checklists, write out flashcards, draw pictures.
  • Watch videos.
  • Use highlighters to emphasize vocabulary or key words.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners prefer to hear information. They learn best by listening to themselves or others. These learners are great at remembering names and numbers and prefer listening to directions rather than reading them.

Tips for Accommodating

In order to appeal to these types of students, you can do the following:

  • Ask the students to tape themselves and listen back.
  • Give them audiotapes of your lectures.
  • Have students listen to a podcast for information.
  • During peer groups, students take turns listening to one another read.
  • Read material aloud to the students.

Kinesthetic Learners

Someone who learns best kinesthetically prefers a more hands-on experience to learning. These students like to touch, feel, and hold when learning and perform the best when it involves anything tactile. These students tend to “Try it out first” and prefer to learn as they go. They’d rather use their body or movement then read or hear information.

Tips for Accommodating

In order to appeal to these types of students, you can do the following.

  • Students can use manipulatives to help learn.
  • Have students use their bodies when learning (snap, clap, tap, etc.).
  • Use objects to help them understand a concept.
  • Use a variety of different art supplies to learn (crayons, textured paper, markers).
  • Close their eyes and imagine what they are learning, then act it out.

A Balanced Curriculum for All Learners

As you can see in the examples above, you do not need to use technology in order to appeal to each unique learning style. Regardless of their learning style, students learn best when they partake in a variety of multisensory activities. It’s best to try and plan out activities that are suited for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. For example, you can create a variety of cooperative learning stations where each activity will appeal to a different learning style. You can have students work at one station where they may watch and listen to a video, while students at another station may use manipulatives to figure out a problem. By providing activities that appeal to all students as well as giving them the opportunity to use their strengths, you are able to meet all of their needs. And, when you are able to reach all learners within one activity, then you know you have done your job.

How do you accommodate different learning styles in your classroom without the use of technology? Please share your thoughts, teaching strategies, comments, and suggestions in the space below, we’d love to hear from you.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.