You’ve planned for your lesson by putting in hours of study and preparation. The lesson includes hands on activities, a map that shows the route that Jesus took, games, and maybe even a craft or object lesson and yet, you still have that student who becomes distracted and possibly disruptive.
This child taps his (or her) pencil to a beat, fidgets in his chair, talks to anyone who will listen, and is the first one to raise his hand to discuss anything and everything. He may be the main culprit in adding to the noise level, but he finds it hard to concentrate in a noisy environment. You may even consider this child disruptive or disinterested. Does this sound familiar? While a child’s learning style is constantly shifting, most people have a dominant style that remains with them throughout their lives. What we are describing here is most probably the “auditory learner.”
Understanding the Auditory Learner
Auditory learners not only have a tendency to talk, but also learn through listening and discussing what they are studying. They need to hear to understand and may talk to themselves while learning something new. They are easily distracted, especially by sounds, and may have trouble with written instruction including graphs, maps or diagrams. They also tend to have great memories of past conversations. They enjoy discussions, love music and may hum or sing. As an auditory learner myself, I am forever whistling. Some clues to this learning style may be observed in everyday language. Statements like, “I didn’t hear you,” or “that sounds good” or “tell me again” may be indicators of an auditory learning style.
I believe the Apostle Paul may have been an auditory learner. Remember the account in Acts of the young man who fell asleep and then fell out of the window while listening to Paul go and on? Those who were awake and listening most certainly were inspired by the word of God but I couldn’t help but think that the many who enjoyed the lecture would be auditory learners since they actually learn by listening.
Teaching for the Auditory Learner
While the auditory learner is typically only 30% of kids in our classrooms (essentially one in every three), it is important to incorporate some strategies that will enhance their learning experience. For example: Ask the child to listen for a particular word (e.g., sheep or shepherds) as you read a story with a repetitive theme. The children can perform an action (e.g., baa like a sheep, clap their hands, or push a buzzer) when the target word is heard.
You might read or tell a story and ask questions about the story. Speak in a low tone or whisper and then a high pitch and ask the child to imitate you. This is a great tool when teaching a Bible verse or a particular theme that you want to drive home.
Show a video clip and discuss what the students just observed. Record video and audio of the child reading portions of the Bible story. Children are so tech savvy these days and they love viewing and listening to themselves on mobile devices. I recently began bringing a laptop with me to class and allowed the children to read into the voice recorder. You can also use your smart phone to create a quick video.
Engaging the auditory learner is not difficult when you take time to consider his or her preferences. This is something you want to do for all learning styles because there are no unimportant kids!
You can also see a list of all of Kim’s blog posts here.