Not every student learns the same way. There are three basic learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Understanding the different learning styles and the learning styles of your students will allow teaching to be more effective. Ice breakers that appeal to these different learning styles will allow you to identify the learning styles of your students.
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Students with an auditory style learn best through what they hear. These students are very verbal and can memorise information easily.
Have students interview each other for a few minutes and present what they learnt about their peer in front of the class. You may provide questions or let the students make up their own. Do not allow students to write down answers to the questions unless they show distress about having to remember what they have been told. Students that relay information back confidently and clearly are your auditory learners.
Students who are visual learners like pictures and illustrations. They are often neat and prefer to read or copy directions.
A simple activity to identify possible visual learners is a class matching game. Matching games will appeal to this learner's strengths and a visual learner will usually excel. Review the rules of the classroom the first day of class with students using visual aids. A list of the rules on large paper can be already written out or developed as you and your students create classroom rules together.
Prepare a matching game around these rules tacked to the front of the classroom. Allow students to work in teams or as individuals and take turns matching rules of the classroom with consequences or pictures, depending on your teaching style. Observe students who seem most comfortable or excel at this activity or lead their team naturally for possible visual learners.
Kinesthetic learners enjoy using their hands and moving around. For these students, appeal to their need to explore and move. Use active games that can be done in the classroom.
Introduce the topic of the class or the topic of the unit, provide objects that represent the topic and pass them around for students to study and touch. For example, if you are teaching about Christopher Columbus, you could bring in models of what the Santa Maria might have looked like, the food they might have eaten on the voyage and the type of paper Christopher Columbus wrote his journals on. After this introduction to your class, ask to students write down what they recall. Kinesthetic learners will most likely recall details of the objects and facts that connect to the objects.
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