What are three things you can do to include more learning styles in class activities?
Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.
How can we teach for a variety of learning styles?
I suggest to conduct activities that employ multiple intelligences. I guess this would be the safest way to ensure that everyone is included and that the feeling of getting lag behind will be avoided because all of their abilities will coordinate. This would help other students also to be aware of their learning styles in case that they dont know yet. In fact, any way would do. It is only the matter of adapting to it.
@Vhanessa the multiple intelligence approach has helped me too in my lessons. Teachers tend to teach according to their dominant intelligences (for example I am more kinaesthetic, so I tend to use more movement games), so when studying the multiple intelligence theory, I started trying out more activities that had to do with other styles.
I’m curious about how much you are consciously aware of conducting activities using multiple intelligences (MI)? I think I am aware of it, but perhaps I don’t try to use a variety of MI, but rather try to find the best kind of approach for each activity. I’m genuinely just curious what happens in your head and in other teachers’ brains regarding this topic.
I believe that even if we are not too aware of it, we always use a bit of different styles: reading is very visual, using images as cues for debate, too; listening to instructions or to audiotapes is different from that. When we teach full classes (40-50 students) the moving about is a little harder but it can be done with quick activities such finding their match with pictures and sentences – and I love a good running dictation. I also enjoy teaching through actions: if we learning directions I put them in a line and make them walk about following commands and the same with action verbs.
@Larissa I agree with you. Nowadays textbooks include all learning styles, but we as teacher can use some more games and realia to make sure that students have a variety .
Hello, thank you for your answer =)
I did not mention textbooks on my post because I simply do not believe textbooks are effective in the sense of engaging different learning styles. I produce most of my resources and take all liberties with whatever material I take from the internet, so I can take into account different language skills as well as different stimuli for students. Sometimes I start classes with a picture, sometimes it’s a quote, as I said, I like making them move about a little (they spend enough time sitting down in the other classes).
Learn by doing. When I am to teach vocabulary related to food I ask for permission and take my students to the school kitchen. This is possible beacuse the groups are small (ten, eleven students) .They know, from a previous message or a whatsapp reminder, that they are expected to bring certain things for that lesson. Some bring fruits, others flour, eggs, sugar, etc., everything to prepare a fruit salad and/or a cake. My wife helps me with the recipes and students, divided in teams, are given them. Then they are shown the utensils and the ingredients and they write down their names and so is done with the actions so as to teach the verbs related o cooking (mix, add, stir, etc.) Needless to say that they eat their “production” and the lesson ends with a chat about the different tastes while they clean up everything.
In a class where the Simple Past was being taught, they wrote what they had done in the kitchen, so they use the regular and irregular verbs in the past.
The ball game. I have a small soft ball that I use to keep them moving. In a circle I throw the ball to a student who catches it and has to ask a question to a classmate. He will pass the ball to the one to answer only when the question is well formulated (a really hard thing for them). Then the ball is passed and a correct answer is expected. And the game goes on. They think, they help the classmate, they speak, they learn.
One to the left, two to the right. With the students in a circle, I ask them to write the subject of a sentence on a slip of paper and fold it. Then they pass the paper to one classmate on the left who is supposed to write a verb without seeing the subject. After that the paper, folded again, moves two classmates to the right and the student writes an object. The paper returns to the first student, folded, who finishes the sentence and reads it. Sometimes it is logical, but most of the times the sentences make us laugh. The activity is directed, “write a noun or a noun phrase as the subject”, “use the Past Progressive with when o while”, etc. You get things like The crazy doctor / were inventing / a delicious cake / when I was in Antarctica. Then we try to make a meaningful sentence or draw the funny one.
Ruben, I like it that you mention something very important: planning is everything and it does not involve the teacher alone. A class in the kitchen is possible as long as we prepare the school, the students and ourselves.
I also am very fond of learn by doing. Even small simple actions as having students take clothes from a bag to organize them in a box, or amke a map of the school and follow directions to get to certains checkpoints can help make learning more meaningful.
Hi, how do you make them organize the clothing? I mean, which is the criteria? Colors? Sizes? Gender?
As regards to the use of the kitchen, or any other place in the school, of course there is a previous agreement with the authorities and the rest of the staff. But, mine is a small school. Not much fuss of it is made.
@Ruben, very interesting activities! If you’d like, you can check out my post on kinaesthetic activities on the itdi community blog!
I think selecting resources , using the classboard in many different ways , and sequencing tasks are three things teachers can do to include more learning styles.
Selecting appropriate resources which fit in with the lessonaim or topic is not an easy job . Take for example if you have found a worksheet on the internet, perhaps you need to change it a little bit to make it easier, less challenging or more difficult even you might need to add or remove pictures to make them culturally appropriate and suitable to your students’ levels, fit in the lesson aims as well.
Using the classroom board effectively can be seen as having students write up answers, play games,give presentations or “teach” their peers.
“Sequencing tasks” is meant by rearranging or ordering tasks. Tasks can be as simple as numbering a few steps correctly or quite complex like explaining the order of the steps of essay writing processes . Sequencing tasks helps learners especially verbal ones understand and talk about concepts more.
@Thuy very interestig ideas! I especially love the “teach” your peers one. I tend to do that with my weaker students and it usually works because they are afraid that the other students will laugh at them if they don”t do their “job” correctly!!
I agree with you that we have to take our liberties with materials we download (or even the ones in the coursebook).
I like using the board for games or brainstorming, too, as long as students are the one writing on it. In Brazil, the board is mostly a “teacher” space, some are even scared of going up to the board and giving them that space helps building their confidence.
I mostly teach young learners, so I aware that they have different learning styles. I always try to include these different learning styles into my lesson plan.In the beginning of the class, I play songs in the class. This gives them sort of transition or signal that we are about to start the class. songs also helps me with those very active students who like to move and dance while familiarizing them with the vocabulary or Target language we have been learning.
when I introduce new vocabulary or Language point, I show them pictures. This helps me to elicit them or introduce them. we practice to pronounce them ,and we practice using it.I also use games that include a lot of body movement to practice the new vocabulary or language points.
varying activities that include these different learning styles will definitely make the class more memorable.
@Budi Music and movement is always a good idea with young learners!! They are full of energy, and so should a teacher be!!
In my opinion, it’s really important for the teachers to use multisensory input in their instructions. To maximize the learning time, I personally try to know my students preferred learning style through informal or semi structured interview. This way I would be able to design my lessons around their ways of learning and interest. For example for presenting vocabulary I try to use flashcards or Google image for the visual learners annd for the auditory learners I usually get them repeat the words and contextualise it with their peers for kinesthetic learner I try to use role plays and showing them realea. This way I can balance and target all types of learners in my class.
@Yaseen I admire the way you use an interview (at the beginning of term I imagine) to get a sense of your students’ interests and learning styles so that you can tailor activities. It sounds like you are able to present and practice language in ways that appeal to all kinds of learners. Well done! One question: how do you use Google images to present and practice language? I’d be interested in knowing more.
Every student is unique and learns differently. Varying our learning approach is very important to get them engaged and enjoy the lesson. As I teach in a language school, students come and study after school and they get bored with studying and bookwork. Thus I have to be creative in designing the lessons to get their interest back. It is easy to teach YL and pre-teens as they are mostly kinaesthetic learners and they really love TPR activities. The first thing my students always request is games and I need to come up with one that is related to the lessons. Therefore, I usually give them competitive vocabulary games, grammar games, etc to encourage their critical thinking and get their attention off the book for a while.
The same thing in my teenage class, they barely want to do the bookwork. They will do anything just to practice their English without doing the bookwork. They always enjoy doing lots of speaking games and discussions with fun topics, like presentation, Never Have I Ever, debates, etc.
On top of all, we need to make sure that all those activities can also support other learning styles. Adding interesting pictures and colors for visual learners, play songs or music and use a variety of voice for the auditory ones, and make sure we also pay attention to the solitary ones, assigning them with learners they’re comfortable with while allowing them to take an equal role in the group.
@Pravita – I really enjoyed reading about the ways you work with your students to keep them engaged. One thing that resonated with me especially was how you pay close attention to the students who hesitate to join in, working to make sure such students are paired up with or put into groups with classmates they are comfortable with. There are so many introverted and shy students in language classes and yet this is something we don’t often discuss. It’s important to find ways to get them involved and it sounds like you do a good job of doing this. In my own classes (with university students) I used to also make sure there were activities which introverted students could do on their own first before sharing with others.
With regard to using the classroom board for playing games , one of the interactive games I can get my students engaged in is the” Back to board” game. To play this game, divide the class into 2 teams, each team assigns a member to come to the front with their back to the board.The teacher is going to write a key word , a word group or a phrase on the board. The two chosen students standing in front of the class are not allowed to look at the board, they are going to look at their team members who would mime actions to help them make guesses in speaking. The team with the more correct answers will win the game.
The fact is that kinesthetic, visual, social,verbal learners can get involved in doing some TPR activities and employing non-verbal cooperation that their appointed team mate will watch and guess what has been written on the board.Most of my students find this game really fun and enjoyable.
@Thuy I love how you bring so many things together with this lovely game which works on many different levels. It sounds like a lot of fun, too. It seems like something that would be enjoyable with learners of all ages.
Excellent! Your cooking lesson reminded me of a “Canadian Pancakes” lesson I did with 13/14 year olds years ago. I created a series of activities that they had to go through before EATING. First, they had to find a list of ingredients from some cookbooks AND plan one special ingredient (chocolate, candy sprinkles, fresh fruit, etc). Then they had to plan a shopping list. Of course, I made them go to a small shop and ask for everything they needed, calculate the prices and pay. Finally, they could cook. They worked in groups of 6 groups of 4 students to prepare pancakes for another group. They all tried so hard! It was a delicious success.
@Steven Herder – As my students where very young, 9/10, we did not go that far. But I guess it would be great to try with teenagers, mainly that of planning the shopping list and going to a nearby grocery store. I’ll think of it. Maybe something good comes up. Thanks.
We had some 13 year-old students visit our university for a day to imagine university life. I did some fun activities with them, that all had a life message.
1. The Helium Stick (Breathe, Relax, Innovate)
2. Barrel of Monkeys (Find the right way)
3. The White Board (Know yourself)
I think teaching is an art and each teacher has his own tools and techniques. When we enter the class for the first time , we should put in mind that the students are so smart to judge your abilities in just few minutes ,so- as teachers- we should be well prepared for our students . In lesson two, I learnt three master keys for effective teaching ; flexibility , methods and techniques, and passion which can be translated into loving to surprise my students and make them feel joy .
I used to practice different techniques of the TPR approach or (total physical response) .
But after a while I realized that my students needed to practice communication with each other ,so I learnt about Communicative Language Teaching approach and helped my students to be familiar with the different techniques of it, such as role-play and language games .
But according to my own learning style I can call myself auditory learner, so I prefer most Suggestopedia techniques and I make use of that by applying Suggestopedia techniques when I teach stories such as Visualization and Classroom set -up techniques .
Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t been attending webinars but the week workload has seriously taken a toll on me!Now the topic in this chapter is very close to my heart!I’ve been analysing and reflecting on this for years!I’m all the time testing my sts’ types of intelligences and trying to offer them activities in accordance. How?To me this takes some time , you get to know about your sts learning style after some classes and after offering them a variety of activities and their failing or succeeding . Once you realize about this you need to be able to adapt your teaching to their way of learning. One of the best ways to get to know this is by getting a good rapport and in my personal opinion that is possible if your classes are not teacher-centred. I start my classes with a How are you? that leads to some story telling from them and me, during which I pay attention at the way they conduct the language. Then if we need to see some written exercises or reading activity I try to pay attention to see if they are fully involved or getting bored and what I do at that moment is change the pace-in general I found changing of pace a good strategy for intelligence adaptation. Trying to cover syllabus can be enduring but most times it’s just how we focus on it. I have sts who need to copy so I offer them the possibility of doing that with some limitations not to bore the others who probably would much rather continue talking.
Adapting lesson plans to cover all intelligences is surely a monumental task, but we could offer a bit of each . I once saw a video of a multiple intelligence activity-the idea was to revise simple present based on an already written routine-the teacher divided the class in groups and each group had a different instruction; one had to draw it, another to invent a song, another to dramatize it, and so on. The idea was for everyone to be able to practise in their own way.
I believe DRAMA is an excellent way for all sts to feel comfortable in the class , there are many activities and exercises on DRAMA that cater for all types of learning styles!!
It’s important to use various methods and techniques in the classroom, not only because every student is different and has their own style of learning, but because it’s more interesting.
I have taught all age groups, but I’ll give some activities for teenagers (although almost every activity can be adapted).
Gallery walk – the students are moving around the classroom, there are pictures/texts on the walls of the classroom. It can be reading activity – there are texts on the walls, students get questions, and the answers to these questions are in the texts. It can be speaking activity – there are pictures on the walls, for example of beautiful places around the world. Students act like they are a tourist guide, and they have to “sell” the destination that they choose. It can be a writing activity – there are some scenes from the movies in the pictures – the students’ task is to write a dialogue for that scene.
Running dictation – I will just paste a ling, it’s easier 😊 – https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/running-dictation
Marshmallow challenge – this activity is great for teambuilding. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtQr9w2pL74
I would like to recommend a book “Drama and Improvisation” by Ken Wilson (OUP)
Here are some of the activities – my favorite one that I often use is No 2, Actions and Locations