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Multisensory instruction combines visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile instruction when teaching students. It is instruction that combines two or more of the senses and is an important tool for educators to be able to recognize and understand how their students learn. When designing multisensory lessons, educators should incorporate multiple strategies that engage all types of learners.
Visual learners learn through seeing. They are typically very observant, like to read, and are generally good spellers. They are organized and tend to notice details. More often than not, visual learners would rather observe than do. Visual learners prefer images, graphs, diagrams and multimedia.
Techniques for visual learners may include:
- Use of highlighters to organize information
- Use of graphic organizers
- Use of graphs and diagrams
- Mindmapping activities
- Use of flashcards to study for assessments
- Combination of oral and written instructions
- Use of multimedia
- Use of gestures with verbal instruction
- Use of puzzles, models, word searches, etc.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing information. They learn by listening and often prefer to work in group situations. They have difficulty reading body language and facial expressions and often favor listening to reading or writing. Auditory learners enjoy conversation and frequently ask a lot of questions. They prefer lectures and discussions and are good at explaining things verbally. They understand concepts better by talking about them and memorize information by repeating them aloud.
Techniques for auditory learners may include:
- Audio books
- Give directions verbally
- Use audio with text
- Use of text to speech software
- Class discussions
- Give oral reports
- Paraphrase key information
- Use of mnemonics for memorization
Kinesthetic/tactile learners learn best from hands-on activities and usually do not sit still for long periods of time. Most kinesthetic/tactile learners need to take frequent breaks. They need to move! Kinesthetic/tactile learns like to doodle while listening.. Kinesthetic/tactile learners basically learn best by doing, moving and touching. They love to touch, feel, and handle things. They are usually the huggers in the bunch!
Techniques for kinesthetic/tactile learners may include:
- Hands-on activities
- Allow student to doodle while listening
- Give student cue cards to sequence events, processes, etc.
- Use models, puzzles, globes and maps
- Use tactile environment (such as paint in a Ziploc bag, sandpaper, shaving cream, etc.) to trace letters and numbers or draw shapes