Learning Styles – VAK

VAK theory is widely recognised by teachers – particularly those who recommend accelerated learning techniques – but the idea that we receive information via different modes has been around considerably longer than that and can be traced back to the work of Grace Fernald (“Remedial Techniques in Basic School Subjects”) who promoted kinaesthetic learning techniques; Samuel Orton’s work on dyslexia; Anna Gillingham’s subsequent work on developing multisensory approaches; and the holistic educational philosophy of Maria Montessori. (WWW. brainboxx . co. k)

We all learn in different styles it’s just a case of finding out what style suits the individual learner to get the best results out of them, for example if you were to teach a learner that is best suited to Kinaesthetic learning, by giving them just handouts and talking, they will lose concentration much quicker and wont absorb any of the information you are giving them, whereas if you keep them engaged by maybe doing something as simple as giving out the handouts or give a little demonstration of what their learning they will keep engaged therefore absorbing the information for longer.

There are three types of learning styles, Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic. Someone that requires a Visual learning style would prefer to learn using drawing, sketches, handouts, charts etc. An Auditory learner would prefer to learn with the aid of listening and then answering questions about what they have just heard, stories (maybe of past experiences), anecdotes, puns etc. Whereas someone that learns in a Kinaesthetic way would learn in a much more hands on way by building things, taking something apart and re-building to see how it works, using their hands, being able to move around etc.

When setting up your lesson plan you will have to cater for all three learning types and maybe you could already have an idea on how to get the best out of your group of learners that use all three types, for example: if you have a few Kinaesthetic learners in a group or discussion session you could keep them engaged by asking them to come up and give a demonstration, or if you’re in a workshop environment you could give a demonstration for all, whilst verbally explaining what you’re doing and achieving, therefore also catering for Visual and Auditory learners.

The main thing is to keep the learners engaged. (As Geoff petty says in Teaching Today) it is better to have 80 per cent concentration on a moderately effective method than 10per cent on a supposedly brilliant one.

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