Educators have a lot on their plate, no matter what the age they teach or institution they are a part of. Much is demanded of them, especially when it comes to achieving results and goals which don’t always feel realistic. As challenging as it sounds, teachers strive to engage their learners no matter what the background, learning style, or ability of the learners. With both time and resources limited, how can educators truly engage such a diverse group of learners? Here are a few ideas to engage multiple learning styles with activities that have little to no preparation and expense.
To engage kinesthetic learners who use their hands, body, and sense of touch when learning, think about how content can be taught or activities can be done with movement. Using post-it notes with conversation starters can get learners out of their seats and engaged in free conversation. To complete a story or an application, learners can work in pairs to look for the information on the walls and report it to a partner. Role-plays are fun, easy, and really engage learners with movement.
Musical learners can learn best with sounds, rhythms and songs. Bring in songs that touch on the grammar point or content focused on. Learners can sing along, fill in words that are missing on the lyrics sheet, or create a new verse to add to the song. For difficult words, connecting syllables to music notes can help learners pronounce the words better. Creating your own songs with well-known melodies can reinforce whatever has been taught that day.
With visual learners, it is good to keep magazines, laminated real life pictures, and YouTube videos at hand. I find that National Geographic pictures can help learners practice almost any lesson content and YouTube videos provide both laughs and up-to-date issues for discussion.
For the logical learners, who learn with reasoning and sequencing, bringing in respectful and interesting debates with adequate class preparation can peak learners’ interest. I also like to create problem-solving situations with the grammar or content we are working on. Learners appreciate the task and challenge set before them because they feel motivated by finding a solution.
Being intentional with finding activities geared towards learners who prefer to work alone and those that want to be social can strike a balance in the classroom. I use individual reading times with self-reflection to allow learners to work quietly but then ask for a discussion of the reading and questions to show the need to collaborate and share ideas. I ask learners to brainstorm individually a solution to an issue raised and then share their thoughts with a partner, group, and eventually the class.
Educators who design lessons to honor the various learning styles that exist in their classroom can remember that quality teaching does not always have to resort to extra money or time spent. A little creativity and intentionality is all you really need.