Three Ways to Maximize Learning for Kids
If you’ve been in the classroom for some time (or have children of your own), it is no secret that learners have different ways and different circumstances in which they thrive. We know that what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for all, and we’re always looking for ways to maximize learning and reach as many children as possible.
The concept of different learning styles was popularized in the 1970s, and various tests and strategies have emerged to identify a variety of learning styles and offer suggestions for how each might best be addressed in the classroom.
You might already be familiar with one or more of the different theories and systems of classifying learning styles. It continues to be a popular topic of study and conversation among educators.
So how can the notion of learnings styles be utilized today to enliven our religion- focused classrooms and create the most effective learning environment possible?
How can the wealth of information be best digested so that a practical, easily implemented path forward becomes clear?
1. Focus on only one learning-style system at a time.
If you search online for learning styles, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the different systems of classification.
Whether you’re considering VAT (visual, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic), VARK (visual, auditory, read/write, kinesthetic), brain dominance, multiple-intelligence theory, or even Myers-Briggs—just to name a few—you can easily become overwhelmed trying to incorporate everything into your classroom.
The first key about learning styles is to focus on only one system at a time.
Learning all about VAT, for example, can help you see some general characteristics in students and remind you to make sure your curriculum or lesson plans are attentive to visual, auditory, and tactile/ kinesthetic ways of learning.
2. Ensure each lesson has a variety of learning activities!
While useful for looking at how lessons are constructed and how to keep students learning and engaged, focusing too much on identifying individual learning styles can be both frustrating and fruitless.
In fact, labelling learners by a specific learning style
can discourage or excuse them from developing good learning habits that make them successful across a variety of learning-style scenarios in the classroom. Also, it is impossible to tailor lessons to each individual student’s needs.
The goal is to keep learning styles in mind in a general way to ensure that each lesson has a variety of learning activities and options for processing and absorbing content.
3. Use active and engaging lessons!
If you read a lesson plan and think, “Wow. This is going to be really fun!” it is likely an indication that the learners will feel the same way.
Aside from the benefits of deeper learning when positive emotions are generated, engaging lessons that encourage learning through activities, games, or group work naturally incorporate multiple learning styles at once.
This “active learning” has been shown to increase engagement with content and promote long-lasting learning. If learners leave a lesson energized and talking to others about what they just did, this is a good indication that multiple learning styles were addressed and that learning was maximized.
If you focus on making your lessons creative and engaging, you will use the different learning styles to everyone’s advantage.