Thursday, 11 July 2013

'Learning YOUR Way'  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013

We all have an inbuilt preference to the way we learn and this would be difficult and nigh on impossible to re-programme as it evolved genetically, so basically we learn through a variety of sensory methods…most with dyspraxia, dyslexia,dyscalculia and many other learning needs learn take information in through the right side of our brain…with partial input from the left side, the left side is very much a learning process and the right side our natural side (irrespective of whether we are left or right side dominant). My post aims to point the way to teachers and often parents  mis understanding our academic input (we are far from lethargic or indeed stupid), we make up 33% of the world’s entrepreneur’s and many celebrities  and artists too.

 There have been many studies and Kolb’s model suggests that there are four styles, there appears to only

If we look at figures for the learnt environment we can see the variation of styles -

Almost one third of learning is via haptic (nonverbal communication involving touch) and/or kinaesthetic (feedback through movement) approach to learning.

One third of learning is visual, through pictures and images.

The remaining third is learnt through our auditory channel, through sounds and words.

We can also subconsciously take information and retain it from part of all three styles above.

Do we witness all of these styles during our days at school or college?

Have you often wondered why you only get partial participation in your lessons, or as a parent you are concerned that your child is getting poor results in some subjects?  Have you considered the possibility that your child is not being taught in the style that stimulates them?  Take a look at the following preferred styles of learning -

HAPTIC learning

We would see this in subjects such as art and science.  By the nature of the subjects… touching fabrics in the art room and experiments in a lab, this allows the learner to see articles at close quarters and it allows them to learn in a very physical way.

People who learn haptically will pick things up and handle them. They will walk around the learning domain and want to physically try things out. When they are listening, they may well slump and almost seem not to be paying attention. They will take fewer notes, which will use action-oriented words. When talking, they often have deeper voices and speak more slowly.

VISUAL learners

Learning through the visual channel would be particularly useful for those with dyslexia/dyscalculia and dysgraphia.  Their main method, albeit subconsciously, would be through visualisation and this would also apply to those practical and creative learners.  Students would be tuned into the spoken word and boisterous classrooms would lead to a lack of retention through distractions. Taking information down using a combination of diagrams and text, is welcome for this style of learner.

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AUDITORY learning

Apart from reading written text off the whiteboard, this is the most commonly used of all teaching methods, including subjects such as maths and English with the students learning through listening to the teacher talking, often for prolonged periods, about the subject. Unfortunately however, the greater the knowledge the faster the information is delivered and in a more complex fashion. So, the Haptic/kinaesthetic learner really plays little part in these sessions and retains little or nothing, but for those who are auditory learners you will enjoy a good knowledgeable speaker.

If we were to analyse the figures above, we need to offer all the individual styles of learning to include all the learners in any given lesson.  Each learner will tolerate short spells of information given in a way that doesn’t include their particular style, however these should be brief .

If we don’t change each style on a continual basis, we will only serve one third of the learners at any one time… this has to have an adverse effect on results. It would be the same in an art class with the auditory learner taking in the spoken word, but not engaging when you ask them to sketch something, or home economics with having to make a cake.

Lessons should contain a variety of teaching resources and should be structured in such a way that you encompass all the styles, or rotate every 5-10 mins, to engage all of the learners.

Take a look at your retention, disciplinary and attendance figures, what do they tell you?  Have a look at school reports, what do they tell you? You can glean useful data here.  It will indicate lessons where a single or multi-faceted approach is being adopted in schools and classrooms. If schools/colleges adopt this approach there will be higher pass marks, less absenteeism and far fewer disruptions caused by students not engaging.

Multi-sensory is by far the most enjoyable way of teaching, the downside is you require greater resources and some draconian school principals are not prepared to support change.  Creating lesson plans is straightforward as the aims and objectives remain the same.

One thing worth remembering is that a child would find it impossible to change their learning style, as this is very much pre-set when we are born… however, you can change your style of teaching and you will enjoy the change and the outcomes it brings.

All our posts are intended to give guidance and we always advise that you seek the relevant professional advice.

 Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013  Foolow us at
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