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Planning lessons for students' preferred learning styles

Cheron Verster, teacher trainer and materials developer, South Africa

It is important to vary the activities in your lessons so that you cater for students with different learning styles. The following lesson-planning framework can help you do this.

Stage 1: Activities that help students connect with the lesson
For example

  • Students discuss what they know about the topic of the lesson, as a whole class or in small groups.
  • Students predict what a reading passage / story will be about from the title or cover picture.
  • Students share an experience that relates to the topic, with the whole class or in small groups.
  • Students listen to a song or piece of music that relates to the lesson topic. Then they discuss what the song / music made them feel.

Connecting activities are important for students who are innovative learners (McCarthy.) They are also important for field-dependent and right-brain dominated learners. Activities may appeal to students who have a visual, auditory or kinesthetic preference.

Stage 2: Activities that give students new information.
For example

  • Students listen to a presentation of the new information.
  • Students read a text.
  • Students watch a video which presents the new information.

This stage is especially important for analytic learners (McCarthy) and those who are left-brain dominated.

Stage 3: Activities that give students a chance to practice the new information.
For example

  • Students discuss questions based on the new information.
  • Students use the new information to create a poster.
  • Students use the new information to develop a role play or drama.

These activities help students interact with and understand the lesson material. They may appeal to learners who are visual, auditory, tactile or kinaesthetic.

Stage 4: Activities that give students a chance to extend their ideas.
For example

  • Students try the new language which they have learnt outside the classroom.
  • Students try the reading strategy which they were taught in another discipline.

This stage is important for dynamic learners (McCarthy).

Whether you use the above framework, adapt it to suit your needs or use your own lesson-planning framework, the key to lessons that suit students with different learning styles is variety.