Identifying and Incorporating Learning Styles in a Diverse Classroom

The typical classroom is characterized by significant variations in the ability, intelligence, and motivation of students. Though the teacher is often required to direct a majority of the instruction, maximal learning requires that the modification of the curriculum to meet the needs of individual students. In other words, to realize the ultimate objective of student learning, teachers need to use a combination of teaching methods, besides trying to make the learning environment as interactive and stimulating as possible. This article debates the importance of taking a personalized approach to instruction and makes recommendations on how elementary school teachers can optimize the learning of their students.

The way students learn ultimately influences what they learn, the manner in which they learn it, and their experience of the classroom experience. It is important to reiterate, therefore, that, in the same way, that no two students are precisely similar, no two students learn in the same way. To account for the various learning styles, different educators and psychologists have formulated many theoretical frameworks seeking to explain the different styles, identifying many learning styles in the process. While some of these theories focus on sensory pathways employed by students in learning, others emphasize the physical environment in which learning takes place. There are also those that focus on the social interactions and how they relate to learning.

Teachers can use these theories to identify the various learning styles. For instance, student learning styles can be categorized as visual, kinesthetic or auditory. Here, while visual learners learn best through visual material like pictures, graphs, and charts, auditory learners have a preference for listening to lectures and reading. Kinesthetic learners, on the other hand, learn through being involved or by doing. It is also important to note that students can have a preference for one or multiple learning styles. Given the multiplicity of learning styles, it is important for teachers to include curriculum activities linked to the diverse learning styles, which will guarantee all students optimal learning opportunities. Though each student uses all the three senses in the uptake of information, each seems to have preferences in how he or she learns. They can ask some help, like using an essay writer for hire. For teachers, while it may seem challenging to incorporate all the diverse learning styles of instruction, thoughtful planning and preparation can ensure a personalized approach to teaching. In other words, the teacher must conceptualize the class differently, with the emphasis being on the learning styles of students. There are various inventories that can allow the teacher to get an insight on the areas which require more attention.

To incorporate the various learning styles in teaching, teachers must recognize that the immediate environment (light, sound and design and temperature) interacts with the emotionality (persistence, need for structure and motivation) as well as the sociological (peers, self, pair, and team) and physical (intake, perceptual strengths, time, and mobility) needs of students to influence learning. Evidence shows that students have better attitudes towards learning and tend to score higher on tests if they are taught using ways to which they can relate. This is not to say that teachers should teach each student differently. Rather, teachers should try to make alterations in their classroom and instruction that will be of benefit to each learning style. Some of the changes will include a redesign of the classroom and development of small-group techniques. Include the students in redesigning the classroom.

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