A learning style is a preferred method when it comes to learning. Everyone has a different way of learning, and most people combine several learning styles in order to learn efficiently. As a teacher, whether you have a large or a small group, knowing about these styles and how to use them to increase the performance of your students can make all the difference. Seven styles have been identified:
Solitary learning: Contrary to the previous method, the solitary learning style quite simply means that you learn better on your own, studying alone. Activities that are effective with this kind of learning style are reading exercises or puzzles, where you don’t need to be with someone else to work. The advantage of this method is that it promotes autonomy, as students working on their own will try harder to solve the problem at hand without asking for help.
Visual learning: Visual learners usually prefer images, colours and charts, as it helps them remember something. For these kinds of students, using pictures, highlighters, or writing different elements in a particular colour can help them process the information (for example, underlining the verbs of sentences in red will help the student remember where to put it).
Verbal learning: You can be called a verbal learner if you prefer using words, whether they are written or spoken. You attach a lot of importance on the semantics and impact of words and like to play with them. For these students, word games, acronyms, rhymes, word exercises (with antonyms or synonyms) will help them improve.
Physical learning: Being a physical learner means that you learn best when you move, touch things, and use your body. You appreciate textures and movement. The best kind of activities for these students are those that involve learning through the handling of objects, like building with cubes, making a puzzle, or using cards.
Aural learning: The aural method involves sounds, music, rhythm and all elements sound-related. Traditionally, students preferring the aural method learn better when they listen or repeat. They attach a lot of importance to pronunciation and the musicality of sentences. For them, movies or audio documents work more efficiently.
Logical learning: Students using the logical method usually focus on the rules and systems behind a message or a sentence. They like analysing and deconstructing elements to find the process that was used. These students will often prefer repetitive exercises such as grammar exercises, where they can understand and use the structures to create a sentence or an idea.
The choice of method will depend on the students, the environment, or simply on the task at hand. As a teacher it is a challenge to cater to all of our students since they have different methods and personalities, although it is much easier when you have a smaller group (like during an educational home-stay, see Daily English for more on this). It’s impossible to satisfy everyone at once, and so the best for you is just to try to involve as many skills as possible with varied and rich activities in order to meet everyone’s needs at some point.