While many people find teaching children to be rewarding, some will tell you that it’s just plain stressful at times. What are the best ways to teach kids? Do the methods and techniques vary across subject manner? For example, would you use the same approach to teach a child how to tie their shoes as you would how to do multiplication tables? Probably not. That being said though, there is no fool-proof way on how to teach kids. The good news is there are several methods and techniques you can use. Children are versatile. Before you dedicate yourself to a teaching method, figure out how the kids learn best. From there, you can choose teaching methods and techniques that are right for them. You will be surprised how fast they can learn something once you teach to their learning style.
There are 7 primary learning styles:
Visual (Spatial) – These individuals learn best through pictures, images, and spatial understanding
Aural (Auditory) – These individuals learn best through sound and music
Verbal (Linguistic) – These individuals learn best through words, verbal and/or written
Physical (Kinesthetic) – These individuals learn best through experience and rely on the sense of touch
Logical (Mathematical) – These individuals learn best through logic and reasoning
Social (Interpersonal) – These individuals learn best through group interaction
Solitary (Intrapersonal) – These individuals learn best through self-study
It is important to note that many kids learn well from a blend of learning styles. Think of yourself for example. Do you learn best through just one of these learning styles or several?
Try the following teaching methods and techniques below as they apply to the child’s learning style.
To help your visual learner grasp concepts faster, teach them through pictures, icons, charts, diagrams, and color coded information. For example, if you are teaching a kid how to tie their shoes, walk them through step by step instructions with each step illustrated. Use shoe laces that are half one color and half another to help them identify which side is which. If you are teaching an academic subject like rain forest ecosystems, allow kids to research topics using graphics and compile their findings into a poster. Visual learners can also retain information better if it has been categorized according to colors. Try color coding the parts of speech when you read together to teach grammar. As a teacher (official or unofficial), always have different colored pens, pencils, markers, labels, and sticky notes on hand.
Aural learners thrive on teaching techniques that involve sound. Making up a story or a song with the directions or the main concepts of the lesson will help this type of learner succeed. Encourage them to rewrite the lyrics to their favorite songs to learn new things. You can also use music to set the mood of the learning environment. If the kids are taking an exam, trying playing some classical music. If you need them to be excited about something they find boring (math, grammar, history, could be anything), play some pump-it-up music for a few minutes. For younger children, use oral storytelling and sing-alongs to teach important lessons. For example, if you are teaching about different body parts, sing the “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” song.
Verbal learning centers on the use of words. Copying down phrases and words, taking their own notes during lectures, reading out loud, listening to audio recordings, and discussions are effective teaching methods and techniques for this type of learner. Teach spelling by having them write out the word correctly multiple times on a piece of paper or on a white board. Help your children understand rules by writing them on a poster board that they can see and refer to. If your kids are interested in writing, learn how to help them write a mystery story that they can be proud of.
Physical learners learn through “doing”. Encourage kids to build, create, act things out, and experience what they are learning. If you are teaching about Ancient Rome, allow kids to build models of ancient buildings and historical sites. If they are not good at building models and structures, try having your students act out what they are learning in a skit, improv, or a play. Field trips, technology, and playing games are also effective teaching methods for physical learners. For example, if you are teaching the angles of triangles in geometry, bring the lesson out to the basketball court. You can have two students demonstrate and make different angles while standing next to the basketball hoop. Experimentation is also a good method to use. Encourage kids to learn from their mistakes and failed attempts. If you are trying to teach kids about entrepreneurship, a subject that is very hands on, try taking this course to learn more about effective teaching methods.
Logical learners need to know the elusive “why?”. The answer “because” or “it just is” will never sit right with them. They will excel at following complicated directions and using technology and games to reach learning outcomes. You can learn more on how to teach with technology and connect with your students with this course. Children who are logical learners often go on to be engineers or mathematicians, as both of these professional fields typically follow logical rules. Trying using problem solving as a way to learn new material. For example, have the kids develop a hypothesis that they can test. Discuss the results on whether failed or succeeded and ask them why this was the case. You may be surprised how they articulate their answers.
Social learners thrive on interpersonal communications and learn best in a group atmosphere. You can teach to this learning style through role playing, group projects, volunteering, service projects, and debates. Let kids engage with others, facilitate discussions, and encourage collaboration. You will also find that social learners can make great pen pals.
Solitary learners prefer individual teaching or self-paced learnings. Being in group situations can cause anxiety and lead to them shutting down. Try centering your lesson plans around things they are already interested in and use their interest as a vessel to learn new things. For example, if you have a child obsessed with airplanes you can use this to teach about gravity, weather, physics, motivation, cultural differences, motivation, or even cooking. Solidary learners will also enjoy watching how-to-videos and reading to learn new things. Because solitary learners are often drawn to online communities, help your child succeed by learning how to teach them game development and programming.
If you teach kids, what methods and techniques do you find work best?