By Jenna Sherman
With more kids home than ever before, parents and teachers are learning how to engage students and increase their success in the classroom. Multi-sensory education is creative and beneficial in many key ways, and can reach children at levels beyond basic, traditional methods.
Tactile Learners Need Hands-On Guidance
Tactile learners thrive in a hands-on environment. Children who learn tactilely are more likely to become bored in traditional classrooms but not in a multi-sensory education setting. Sometimes children who have difficulty staying still or paying attention in class might be marked as having ADHD. While this diagnosis is true for some kids, it is not always the root of the problem. If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, he or she is more likely to learn through touch.
Math counting chips, for example, are great for tactile learners. When learning how to read time, they may do better with a clock with moving hands.
Auditory Learners Struggle With Silence
Traditional classrooms tend to follow the outdated belief that silence equals learning. Many adults know better, however. It is easy to sit down, in silence, to read a book and retain none of the information. Some educational experts encourage classrooms to be noisy. When children engage in the lesson, they may be loud, excited and energetic.
Auditory learners repeat information. When learning new content, they are more likely to process and remember it if they can say it out loud. Some may even need an auditory amplification device to encourage memory. Multi-sensory education experts may have children read aloud or discuss new concepts with their peers.
Visual Learners Are Organized Thinkers
A common misconception about visual learners is that they simply need to see what they are learning. They need to be able to see the meaning of what they are learning. Use graphs or charts to organize content. If they can discover a pattern in the content, then they are more likely to process and remember the information.
They might equate symbols to objects. Think of it as if their brains are cameras, and they need to be able to take a snapshot of the image.
Kinesthetic Learners Keep Moving
Don’t make your student stay still. Some kids cannot focus or retain information if forced into stillness. Kinesthetic learners use their bodies to learn about the world around them. Kinesthetic learners might use their hands to spell out the alphabet or use other body movements to represent new content. To be motionless for hours at a time is challenging for kinesthetic learners.
Multi-Sensory Lessons Help All Children
Multi-sensory lessons take into consideration all the learning styles. Most children do not have just one style or the other. It is common for a person to have a dominant learning style but to rely on other types also.
Games can be a great way for you to integrate different methods of learning into your lesson plan. Card games, word games, memory games and physical activity can be fun ways to encourage kids to learn. Game suggestions include:
- Create an alphabet list with a physical activity assigned to each letter, then have your kids spell their name using the activities.
- Use flashcards or pictures to create matching memory games.
- Allow children to play video games with a history lesson, like The Oregon Trail, or enjoy a nature lesson from PBS.
- Find popular puzzle games to interest children.
If you choose to use video games in your lesson plan, you may also want to consider high-speed internet to help ensure seamless streaming. Subjecting kids to lagging videos and lengthy buffering will frustrate them and get in the way of the learning experience.
In the wake of the pandemic, remote learning is more popular than before. Whether you are a teacher looking to keep your children engaged over Zoom meetings or a parent new to homeschool, integrating multi-sensory education can encourage a healthy learning environment.
Jenna Sherman created Parent-Leaders to be all about what parents can do to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults. By providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources, she hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders. Jenna is mom to three children — two girls and a boy.