I am so excited to share with you today about the 8 common learning styles and ways to meet the needs of all your learners in the classroom. My name is Kirsten Hammond, and I am so passionate about building and fostering a positive classroom community by understanding, recognizing, and celebrating student strengths academically, behaviorally, and socially. I hope I can give you some insight on how you can recognize and help your students thrive in simple and manageable ways!
So Many Learning Styles, So Little Time!
Each group of students that come into your classroom every year may be very different. Some classes might be more talkative, while others like to work more independently and are more mature. It may feel a little overwhelming trying to anticipate what type of students and unique needs will be walking through your classroom on the first day of school.
One great way to understand your students as you get to know them at the beginning of the school year is to understand 8 common learning styles. Knowing these student learning styles is a key component to ensuring their needs from you and from their classmates are met.
We’re going to dive into characteristics of 8 common learning styles and you’ll be able to take away 3 important ways to make sure students are thriving in the way they learn best – without feeling overwhelmed with the many types of learners in your classroom!
The 8 Learning Styles
We all learn best in different ways. One theory that describes the way we learn is through Multiple Intelligences.
- Word Smart
People with Word Smart intelligence can understand written and spoken language very easily. They typically do well in reading and writing, have a rich vocabulary, and can be good at learning new languages.
- Number Smart
People with Number Smart intelligence are very curious and can understand rules and procedures very easily. They typically do well with patterns and relationships, reasoning, and problem solving.
- Picture Smart
People with Picture Smart intelligence can visualize and create images very easily. They typically do well with maps and charts, lists and color-coding, and have a vivid imagination.
- Nature Smart
People with Nature Smart intelligence can identify and understand the world around them. They typically appreciate nature, love animals, and enjoy outdoor activities.
- Body Smart
People with Body Smart intelligence can use their body to express themselves very easily. They typically do well in sports, are very coordinated, and have a lot of energy.
- Music Smart
People with Music Smart intelligence can identify and express rhythm and sounds very easily. They typically recognize and learn songs and melodies quickly, have a good ear for music, and are good at imitating sounds.
- People Smart
People with People Smart intelligence can understand and identify the emotions and motivations of other people very easily. They typically enjoy social activities, are good at understanding others, and make friends easily.
- Self Smart
People with Self Smart intelligence can recognize, understand, and appreciate their own feelings, emotions, and motivations. They typically enjoy spending time alone and like to learn and reflect independently.
How to Accommodate Learning Styles in the Classroom
- Incorporate into your lessons
Offering a variety of ways to teach content is important. Consider switching up how you teach a topic to hit the learning styles of your students. If one lesson requires notetaking, make sure to follow up with another lesson that will meet the needs of a different set of learners. This could include watching a video on the topic, conducting a class discussion, or creating a poster or other product. Don’t feel pressured to try to incorporate as many strategies as you can in one lesson; spread it out over the course of a unit or week!
- Allow options to show what they know
Not all formative or summative assessments need to be in multiple-choice format! Allow students to show what they know in a way that suits their interests. Some ideas would be for students to create a slideshow, poster, podcast, or create a board game.
- Grouping is key
An excellent and easy way to allow students to function at their best is to allow students to choose how and where they work. Students can have the option to work independently or in pairs on a task or assignment, and they can choose to work at their desk or around the room, flexible seating style. This can be done during stations or work time.
It’s amazing how engaged and confident students can be when they know their teacher is doing the best they can to meet their learning styles. It’s even more amazing how students gain the ability to recognize and hone in on their own learning strengths at an early age.
Everyone is unique. We all have different hobbies, likes, and dislikes. We all learn best in different ways. Knowing how our differences can be approached and enhanced in the classroom can help promote a safe and supportive learning environment.
About the Author
Kirsten Hammond is a 3rd grade Texas teacher and mom who creates educational resources for upper elementary teachers. She also provides helpful tips on branding and marketing for teacher sellers. She enjoys all things Tex-Mex, running, barre, and coffee!