Teaching 101: The Different Ways That Children Learn

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No child is the same and, as such, there is a range of different ways that children can learn these days. Not only that, but there are different means by which children can both process, learn from, and then also retain different pieces of information. There’s variation in the hands-on experiences that are going to be meaningful for children, whether these are more active, like moving, or more subdued, such as seeing and hearing. When you are a teacher, you must be aware of these different forms of learning, so that you can cater your teaching style better towards the individuality of your students, and ensure that you are aware of different learning styles.

Once you can properly understand the strengths and weaknesses of your pupils, you are going to be able to challenge them and continue to help them grow, as any good teacher should. As such, you should be sure to try to offer a variety of different learning styles to your children that will allow them to experience different forms of learning, develop their strengths, and thrive in general.

Different Types of Learning Styles

There are four main types of learning styles in total. These consist of the following:

  • Visual Learning (learning through seeing)
  • Auditory Learning (learning through hearing)
  • Tactile Learning (learning through touch)
  • Kinesthetic Learning (learning through moving and doing)

Visual Learners

When a child is a visual learner, this means that they learn through the likes of seeing and reading. They are good at studying body language and facial expressions, and are also keen to work from words and pictures. As such, if you want to explore your pupils’ affiliation towards visual learning, you should be sure to pass out worksheets that they will be able to study from. Several different sites will help you when it comes to putting together worksheets and, therefore, you should be sure to use these to ensure you are putting together the best resources possible. A good example is Student Treasures which has a range of 2nd grade writing worksheets that you can use, which will make your lessons more engaging, and allow you to see which students are visual learners.

Auditory Learners

An auditory learner is a child who will learn most effectively through listening. These children will much prefer to engage in discussion and participate in a chat when it comes to learning, talking things through, and growing an understanding that way. When you have given instructions or passed off some written information to an auditory learner, it is a good idea to follow it up with some verbal directions as well. The environment a child works in will also impact their ability to retain information if they are auditory learners because they will struggle to pick up information in an environment which is too noisy. As such, you need to ensure they are learning in more of a quiet environment.

Tactile Learners

If someone is a tactile learner, then this means that they will learn through touch. When this is the case, you tend to find that these children would much prefer taking on a project that will allow them to use their hands. For instance, they might like to learn by joining different answers or drawing as a means to aid their memory.

Kinesthetic Learners

If someone is a kinesthetic learner, then this means that they prefer to learn kinetically. In other words, they like to move and do things to aid their retention of information. These types of children like to be active and, therefore, don’t particularly enjoy sitting still for long periods. You will need to take on a more hands-on approach when it comes to working with these types of learners, get them out exploring the physical world, as a means to properly engage with their work and retain information.

How Can You Participate in a Child’s Learning Style?

As a teacher, you are going to need to create different lesson plans that clearly set out everything you will be doing for the class that day. These plans aren’t necessarily going to be able to cover every type of learning, but it is still a good idea to keep them in mind when preparing and when teaching. The best way to use these different forms of learning is by understanding how the different kids in your class learn and then thinking about them when you are delivering your lessons.

The best way to find out what different pupils’ learning style is, is by observing their behavior. They are going to show clear interest and improvement on different topics and you should make a note of when children particularly shine. In doing this, you are going to be in a good position when it comes to understanding how the different children in your class learn.

If a child is struggling in your class, then it may be that you should speak to their parents. Their parents are going to know a lot about what their child reacts to and, as such, by exploring this with them you will have a much better understanding as to what will work the most effectively for them. Be sure to ask:

  • What kind of toys does the child prefer playing with? Are these toys quite quiet and subdued or do they involve a lot of activity and movement?
  • Does the child enjoy reading books and drawing pictures? When you communicate with them do they like to be shown how to do something or given verbal instructions?
  • Is your child very active? Do they enjoy moving around and participating in different activities?
  • Do you find that your child is drawn to different patterns and number sequences?

How Are You Able to Support the Learning Style of a Child?

When you have managed to identify the learning styles the different children in your class identify with, you are then going to be able to ensure that you are encouraging these different learning styles throughout your lesson. Having some knowledge of where a child can thrive is going to make it so that you are improving the way you teach them massively. You can not only try and incorporate learning styles into your classroom, but you could also set up programs that support the range of abilities pupils have. These programs could include:

  • Periods dedicated to movement
  • Music time and group circle time
  • Learning centres which are held during lessons with teaching assistants, which will include several different experiences that cater towards the learning abilities of children


When it comes to teaching students, especially younger students, it’s important to recognize that everyone is going to have their own way of learning. Some of the most common types of learning include Tactile, Kinesthetic, Auditory, and Visual. You must understand what these different kinds of learning mean and take the time to better understand which kinds your pupils prefer to use.

You aren’t going to be able to cater your lessons to every single type of learning, but if you have this understanding, it means it will be easier to help out kids who might be struggling, but it also means that you can set up activities outside of class that will continue to aid a child’s development. If you are struggling with pinpointing exactly what some people’s preference is when it comes to learning, then you should consider asking their parents a few questions. These include what toys their child likes playing with, what they do in their spare time, and how they have had information conveyed to them effectively in the past.