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The Best Way to Learn
Written by Sisa H. Parrera   
Thursday, 30 June 2011

As the teacher stands before the class, orderliness is the first thing to be checked. Tables, chairs, or desks should be aligned in columns. Pupils should sit up straight with their hands on their desk or lap. Pupils are not being allowed to talk unless being asked. This is a traditional belief that learning takes place in this kind of classroom routine.

Nowadays, it is already a passé. It is really hard to design all the pupils  in just one mold. Everybody possesses its individuality and this is also true in learning.

The best way for a person to learn depends on him. It is well known that students have their own Learning Styles.

Some students are Peer Learners, they benefit greatly from group activities. They may also be paired with another student when possible but for Self Learners, do not force them into a group/peer learning situation all the time. Cooperative learning is an important learning tool but some students are more introverted than others and may have difficulty participating in group activities.

Auditory Learners learn best by listening. They do well with lecture and class discussion. While lecture is considered the least effective teaching method, some students learn best by simply listening.

Visual Learners learn more from various ocular stimulations.  They like colors, images and written information. They like to read instruction or the text on their own to increase their understanding. Using different color highlighters or pens as they are reading and taking notes is helpful to this kind of learners.

Other students are Tactile Learners. They learn best with hands on activities. Some students really increase their learning potential when they are given the opportunity to do something by themselves. Especially in a science classroom there should be plenty of opportunities to learn by doing.

Environmental factors also affect the learning styles of the students. Some students feel comfortable in a formal classroom setting   with a traditional desk, chair or possibly a table while others enjoy the informal setting which is sitting on the floor, a couch or a beanbag. Students’ brain will not function the same in the same postural position. When a student slouches in a traditional desk or chair, it may possibly mean that they would learn better in an informal setting.

Sounds also affect the students’ learning style. Some students find sound distracting and some find it calming. It may be beneficial to have several study areas established. One where  the noise level is kept to a minimum and one where some background noise is present.

Temperature also affects learning. Some students get distracted when temperature is too cold or too hot. If possible, it is better to have a cool temperature, in this way those who do not like being cold can simply wear another layer of clothing and be comfortable.

Light affects students’ learning as well. Others can tolerate bright reading lamps while others may get a headache when too much light is present. A light level that all students find comfortable should be sought.

Some students also enjoy being kinesthetic while studying. Others enjoy tapping their fingers or foot on the floor, fooling with their hair, or chewing gum. This is absolutely natural  but if they are not alone studying, make sure they do not distract others.

Likewise, allow students to stand, stretch and take short breaks as needed during studying. It is good to study in 20-30 minute increments with a brief break between each block of time. Research has shown that is, only takes 30 seconds to rest and recharge.

Classroom environment really has a big effect on the amount of learning that occurs. People are different and have different environmental preference.

The best approach for a teacher to take is to address a variety of learning styles in their teaching plan. It is also helpful to encourage students to understand their preferred learning styles for them to know the best that they could learn.

Sisa H. Parrera
Teacher-III SNES

 
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