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What kind of learner is your child?

Regular, public school often gets bashed for not being able to provide what many students need, and in part, depending on where you live, it's often true. It's also very difficult to guarantee free, quality education for every child, because every child is different and every child needs different stimuli to learn effectively. Public school teachers are often faced with large class size (20+ students) and very limited time (and energy, I must add) to organize their lessons with materials and activities that cater to every child's learning style. This is just the hard truth. In this context, it's difficult enough just teaching the core subjects in Italian, never mind trying to teach English!


Small group English lessons at language schools are useful for many reasons, as most groups have a maximum of 10 students, making it easier for the teacher to pay more attention to each child. But, let me tell you, also from experience, that language school teachers often have even less time to prepare their lessons, and are extremely overworked and underpaid, meaning that your child and their specific learning needs are not even on the list of things that that teacher worries about.


I'm being very brutally honest with you here, and I am generalizing, but I've worked in A LOT of schools and language centers, and in the end, I decided to start my own teaching business, so I could teach my students on my terms, and dedicate all the necessary time and energy to making their lessons as engaging, inclusive and fun as possible.


 

Different learning styles


I'm going to briefly outline the different learning styles, think about what your child likes doing, and see if you can decide which learning style or styles they seem to fit with most.


  • Visual learners: these children love drawing pictures and reading picture books. They usually have a big imagination and are very creative.

  • Auditory learners: these children enjoy listening to explanations, stories and songs. They are often very musically oriented.

  • Kinaesthetic learners: these are the children that can't sit still. They love moving, running, jumping, and often learn best when NOT sitting in a chair.

  • Reading/writing learners: these children are often more quiet, and enjoy their own space, especially with their secret diary to write in or a good book to read.

  • Logical learners: these children are often very good at math, and enjoy solving puzzles and riddles.

Most children are a combination of learning styles, and just because one child is more of a visual learner doesn't mean they can't also learn by listening to a story or solving a puzzle. It just means that they learn best when presented with visuals. For example, I'm a visual learner, but also a reading/writing learner. I often learn best when I can see diagrams and examples, but then to solidify the new information, I enjoy reading it and then writing it down again for myself. What kind of learner do you think your child is?

 

How I cater to each learning style in my lessons


I want to let you in behind the scenes of my lesson planning, which takes up quite a bit of time, and as a one woman business, sometimes I don't have as much time as I'd like, but that's where experience comes in handy and helps me out a bit. I currently teach 1-1 lessons and small group lessons. I'm going to focus on small group lesson planning for this post. Children learn best in small groups. Many people think that children will learn better and faster if they have 1-1 private English lessons, and of course, 1-1 lessons have many advantages, but children learn better in groups. Stop. AS LONG AS their learning styles are taken into account. How do I do that?


Well, in a nutshell, I try to incorporate activities that touch on at least 3-4 of the 5 learning styles, depending on the students in my group. For example, we'll look at pictures of new vocabulary, while also listening to the pronunciation. We often watch a video or sing a song, and for the students that are old enough to do so, we often read a story or a text together. In these activities, I've catered to visual, audio and reading/writing learners. With the youngest students, we dance to the songs, catering to kids that learn best through movement. Learning through shapes and forms is a great way to cater to the youngest logic learners, while solving riddles and playing word games is a great way to help the older logic learners.


It isn't rocket science. It just takes planning, which takes time. I've allowed myself to have that time, because I know how important it is for my students' success. My students aren't just names on a list. They mean the world to me, and I want to be the best English teacher I can be for them. Maybe it sounds a bit cheesy, but that's how I feel. I love teaching kids. End of story.

 

If you're curious to find out more about my teaching style, receive tips on keeping English fun even from home, and stay updated on all my upcoming FREE workshops, do sign up to my newsletter! It's bi-monthly, short, sweet and to the point, not like my long blog posts😅!





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