I’ve found no shortage of research on how people learn. Indeed, people have become rich just developing theories about this central element of learning. However, in a classroom packed with students, I find it’s often difficult to provide enough alternative types of assignments to reach everyone. So I try to help students learn about themselves and how they learn.
At the start of each term, I give students tests to determine which learning style is best for them. After that we explore the many ways to learn, and those include graphing, summarizing, taking notes using the Cornell system, writing their own test questions, and even making mnemonic devices to help them memorize. I only add the subject matter after students have mastered those lessons, and they can use various methods to help them learn.
I find technology is valuable as well for two main reasons. First, it can provide different levels of learning -- for students who have an easy time acquiring data and for those who need remedial help. Secondly, I am able to locate free lessons that can make individualizing lessons easier.
Take some time to explore these sites and add your own. I believe they will make lesson planning much easier while still remaining within the Common Core. And, if you have free resource sites to share, please pass them along.
- Applying Learning Styles Differentiation in the Classroom - An excellent sideshow providing information on how to apply differentiated learning
- Gardner's Multiple Intelligences - Gives examples of how to relate to different styles of learning
- Index of Learning Styles - A slideshow explains this theory, and it gives an excellent overview for teachers, with insights into various methods to reach students.
- Knowledge of Student Characteristics - The first part of this article provides some interesting data that can help teachers with assignments, including how time of day and right-left brain differences affect students.
- Learning Styles, Multiple Intelligences, and Differentiated Instruction - Get links to these topics and self-tests.
- Multiple Intelligence Types - This site is designed for students to explore their own learning style.
- Teaching with Moodle - A Moodle about Moodle -- a tool teachers can use to individualize lessons and provide more direct feedback. It fits into the various types of learning styles by making it easier for teachers to provide differentiated learning opportunities.
- What is Your Child’s Learning Style? - Homework tips for different learning styles; the best information is at the bottom of this page.
Alan Haskvitz teaches at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, Calif., and makes staff development presentations nationwide. He serves as an educational consultant, curriculum developer and author.