Know Learning Channels to Optimize Teaching

Teach Facts Through a Variety of Learning Channels

Children absorb information through a variety of learning channels. Yet, each child has a particular channel through which he or she experiences greater learning. Therefore, it is important to know these channels and adapt the input that the child receives accordingly.

Access Every Channel of Learning

At the same time, for greater learning to take place, every channel should be accessed so that greater knowledge is received and retained. This will also help children exposed to different learning environments increase their competence when receiving information that is not presented in their unique learning styles.

The five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting can help us remember the channels of learning as these are the pathways that God has given us to receive information.

Know the Different Learning Modalities

Children have a preferred style of learning. The tendency of a child to learn in a particular way that helps him or her best utilize the information received is called a modality.

There are six channels or modalities through which we receive information: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and kinesthetic. Do not allow the use of these words to confuse you. They simply refer to the senses that God has given us to learn.

  • The visual modality is the use of sight to receive information. Children preferring this style of learning enjoy material presented in a way that engages the sense of sight. The use of colors, posters, video, charts, live performances, and illustrated storybooks are this child’s favorite modes of learning.

They also love to read in quiet places. Noises detract and can lead to irritation. They usually prefer a neat desk and feel uncomfortable in cluttered places.

  • The auditory modality is the use of hearing to receive information. Children preferring this style of learning enjoy material presented in a way that engages the sense of hearing. This is the type of student that can learn through the use of lecture and audio materials.

Auditory learners love to talk and to listen. You may catch them reading aloud to themselves or humming their favorite tunes. They may also create rhymes or songs to remember special events or lists.

Oral drill of spelling words; historical, scientific, and mathematical facts; and other such vocal methods keeps this child engaged.

  • The tactile modality is the use of touch to receive information. Children preferring this style of learning enjoy material presented in a way that engages the use of their hands. The use of objects or manipulatives, textured papers, and special writing instruments helps this child to learn more effectively.

Hands-on projects, how-to presentations that involve the child’s assistance, and the use of models for explanation of concepts helps to keep this child engaged.

Manipulatives Make Learning Fun Photo
Manipulatives Make Learning Fun
  • The olfactory modality is the use of smell to receive information. Children preferring this style of learning like to ‘smell the roses.’ However, they strongly react to environments where smells are not to their liking. When they enter a room, you may hear them comment on the ‘smells’ they sense.
  • The gustatory modality is the use of taste to receive information. Children using this modality become great taste testers. As children it seems everything ends up in the mouth. They love tastes, textures, and smells. They prefer to use scented markers to highlight important information and to develop projects that consist of a variety of smells.

A writing assignment may be filled with words which describe the smells encountered on a nature walk or the smells of foods experienced during a recent trip to the market or their favorite restaurant.

  • The kinesthetic modality is the use of movement to receive information. Closely related to the tactile modality, children embracing this style of learning prefer movement in opposition to sitting still. The handling of manipulatives also increases their absorption of facts.

Whether utilizing ‘jumping jacks’ to memorize math facts or clapping hands to the drilling of letters, these students love learning when it involves movement in any form.  You will catch them doodling, fidgeting with their hands, and tapping the desk with their pencils.

Adapt Teaching Styles to Optimize Learning Experiences

The knowledge of these six learning modalities can help parents and teachers adapt their teaching styles in order to access the learning channels that children prefer to utilize when receiving information.

Adjust Teaching Plans to Create Variety

Preparing to utilize methods that employ every learning style will also create greater variety in the classroom. This makes for a better teaching and learning experience for both teachers and students.

As you make lesson plans for the upcoming week, I hope you will consider each of the six learning modalities and adjust your teaching plans accordingly.