Re: Different Learning Styles

Dear Amy,

                            In every classroom that you come across you are going to encounter a multitude of learning styles. Hinde McLeod & Reynolds (2007) suggest, that in any classroom 29% of students have a visual dominance, 34% have an auditory dominance and 37% have a kinaesthetic dominance. The statistics show that about a third of the class responds best to one particular learning style. As a classroom teacher you will need to consider this when planning and implementing your lessons.

Each learning style can be catered for in the classroom through a variety of different means. Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing. They have good visual recall and prefer information to be presented visually, in the form of diagrams, graphs, maps, posters and displays etc. Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening. They have good auditory memory and benefit from discussion, lectures, interviewing, hearing stories and audio tapes etc and kinaesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing. They are good at recalling events and associate feelings or physical experiences with memory. They enjoy physical activity, field trips, manipulating objects and other practical, first-hand experience.

 Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, is a considerable breakthrough in the education world.  According to Gardner (cited in Krause, Bochner & Duchesne, 2003) intelligence comprises a set of separate intelligences, each of which is specialised for acquiring knowledge and solving problems in different areas of cognitive activity. He identified 8.5 domains of intelligence which include- linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily kinaesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalist and existential. Multiple intelligence theory is important in the classroom because it identifies that students learn in a variety of ways. This theory emphasised the multiple ways that we can display intelligence but they also reflect the different ways in which we learn. Vialle (2005), in her research, identified the role of multiple intelligences theory in cross cultural classrooms. She said that the challenge is to understand and cater to the cultural diversity in the classroom while the opportunity lies in the enrichment to be gained by all students from valuing and learning from the intellectual strengths of those diverse cultures. Her research found, that while some students from a cultural background failed a westernised IQ test that focused on logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence, they excelled in the areas of spatial and bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence.

As you mentioned to us earlier, you have a classroom that comprises of many different cultures, levels of intelligence, behaviours and interests. It is important to recognise the strengths of each of your students especially in the areas of assessment. While it is important to take into account the three different learning styles, the real importance is in identifying what area or areas of intelligence each student displays giftedness or talent in. When assessing a student don’t make judgements of their intelligence based purely on an activity in one domain eg. linguistic. Provide opportunities for students to explore their creative and musical side or even their spiritual nature. Also take into consideration the cultures in your classroom. You have a high indigenous population in your classroom, whose culture is very visually and bodily-kinaesthetically orientated. Utilise it in your classroom activities and ways of explaining information. Don’t just stick to westernised standards of recording notes and solving problems on paper. Your lessons should include a variety of activities that showcase each intelligence and give each student an equal chance to excel. By allowing a student to learn a particular way you are maximising their chance of success. The better the student performs, the more confidence and self-esteem they have. This will in turn help to create a positive learning environment. I hope that this has been some help to you and you take this information on board when you are teaching your class and programming activities.


Kind Regards, 

Project BEAM