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Signs of learning styles

(The ideas in this section are taken from Multiple ways of teaching and learning: Concept and application strategy, a guidebook for primary teachers published by the National Curriculum and Text Book Board of Bangladesh and Gardner, Howard. (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.)

Each person favours specific styles of learning, or intelligences. As teachers, we can observe learners in our classes and determine some of the ways that they learn best. With this knowledge, when we are designing lessons or projects we can be alert to the needs of all the children in our classes.

Verbal / linguistic

Thinks and learns through written and spoken words:

    - likes to listen, read, and write

    - spells easily

    - good debater

    - good orator

    - has good memory for trivia

Logical / mathematical

Thinks deductively; deals with numbers; and recognises abstract patterns:

    - likes being precise

    - enjoys counting

    - prefers orderly note taking

    - likes to solve math problems

    - likes being organised

Visual / spatial

Thinks in, and visualises images and pictures:

    - likes art, such as drawing, painting, sculpture

    - easily reads maps, charts and diagrams

    - has good colour sense

    - remembers with pictures

    - creates mental images

Musical / rhythmic

Learns through rhyme, rhythm and repetition:

    - sensitive to pitch, rhyme, timbre

    - sensitive to the emotional power of music

    - writes to music

    - learns easily with music

    - sensitive to different sounds of nature

Body / kinaesthetic

Learns through body movement, games and athletics easily:

    - learns best by moving

    - likes to touch

    - likes to act

    - learns by participating in the learning process


Learns easily in groups; can develop relationships with others easily:

    - relates well, mixes well

    - has many friends

    - enjoys group activities

    - always ready to co-operate

    - easily understands social situations


Likes to work alone:

    - sensitive to one's own values

    - deeply aware of one's own feelings

    - deeply aware of one's own strengths and weaknesses

    - listens attentively

Journal activity: Observational record

Observe and record the learning styles in your class.

Make a list of all the children in your class along the left side of a page or pages in your journal. Over the course of the next week, observe the children in your class as they are working and playing. When you notice a child demonstrating a trait tied to one of Gardner's seven intelligences, write down the kind of intelligence you've observed and the activity that sparked your observation.

At the end of your observation period, review your notes. How many children did you record engaging in each kind of intelligence? How does this result reflect on the teaching practices and learning styles practised in your classroom?

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Last revised April, 1999
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