Tips of the trade: 11. Learning styles

For a new teacher, one of the more interesting ideas of recent times is that of "accelerated learning". This approach outlines a new way to look at lesson planning and seeing pupils as learners. According to the theory of accelerated learning, there are three main brain learning preferences in any one class: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. A good lesson needs to address all three.

A visual learner tends to use pictures displaysvideos and so on as learning cues; an auditory learner engages with discussion speakingmusic; while a kinesthetic learner prefers role playtripsactive work. A lesson using textbook pictures has a level of discussion and active work, such as cut and stick, which accesses the three styles.

Accelerated learning emphasises the classroom as an empowering space for learning - lots of pupil displays, visual cues and positive messages. Stress is seen as a hindrance to learning, so rooms should be safe and inspirational. Work should be "chunked" into 15 to 20-minute segments, with pupil time-outs for stretching in between. Fluid intake aids the brain, so drinking water is encouraged.

Identifying a whole class's predominant learning style can sometimes help behaviour. For example, a class of mainly auditory learners may well disrupt if their learning needs are not met. This has implications for setting of pupils by ability - why not by brain learning preference? There are a range of teaching techniques you can use to engage the styles that accelerated learning suggests inhabit a class - try them out.

Roy Watson-Davis

Roy Watson-Davis is a teacher at Blackfen school for girls, Orpington, Kent

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you