Make it a variety show

7th March 2008 at 00:00
You should accept the challenge of different teaching styles. It's not as hard as it seems, says Sue Cowley

Many teachers love to teach in the old-fashioned sense. That is, to stand in front of a class and deliver a lesson, preferably with the pupils paying silent attention. While this might be great for us, research has shown that it ain't so great for them.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to appeal to pupils' learning styles; to be more facilitator than lecturer. A traditional lesson relied on pupils looking and listening. Now we understand that they need to be doing, sharing, talking, doodling and teaching each other as well.

It's tricky to deal with learning styles when you're teaching a class of 30 pupils. There are visual learners - over there and look at the wall; auditory learners - you listen to it; and kinesthetic learners - you lucky scamps get to feel it. The secret is to incorporate variety in your lessons, with lots of practical, interactive tasks. Go cross curricular for the most interesting effects - a collage in a history lesson, a sculpture in maths and a graph in English.

Learning styles offer us a fascinating glimpse into our children's minds. And a welcome challenge to our idea of what being a teacher really means.

Sue Cowley is an author, trainer and presenter. For more information visit

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