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Peer Tutor Guide

Learning Styles

Learning Styles

Introduction

The different approaches people use to learn or study are called learning styles. Each of
us has a unique preference for how, when, where and with whom we’d like to learn or study, and these preferences help to enhance our learning potential. Learning styles do not reflect a person’s academic ability or achievements. Rather, the styles are a combination

of environmental, emotional, sociological, physical and psychological factors that influence how a person receives, processes and stores new information. Often times a person has more than one learning style or preference. Therefore, it is good practice to present information in a variety of ways to help encourage the student to be successful regardless of how information is presented. As a tutor, you must be sensitive to the signals that indicate a student’s learning style.

Major Learning Styles

There are four main learning styles, Visual Learners, Auditory Learners, Read/Write Learners and Tactile Learners, and their characteristics are given below. Tutoring strategies are also provided to help you capitalize on the strengths of each style.

Visual

  • Prefers to get information by seeing
  • Likes looking at books, pictures, puzzles, etc.
  • Strong sense of color
  • Difficulty with spoken instruction
  • Trouble following lectures
  • Misinterpretation of words

Auditory

  • Prefers to get information by listening
  • Likes to tell jokes and stories
  • Remembers spoken words, ideas, lyrics to music
  • Difficulty following written instruction
  • Problems with writing

Read/Write

  • Prefers to get information from text
  • Likes reading and writing in all forms
  • Likes lists, textbooks, handouts, etc.
  • Emphasis placed on words and the meanings of words
  • Difficulty with spoken instruction

Tactile

  • Prefers to get information by touching
  • Likes to work with hands
  • Learns better when physical activity is involved
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Not avid readers

Learning Tips

Visual

  • Graphics reinforce learning
  • Color coding to organize notes
  • Written instructions

Auditory

  • Study by talking the information through with someone
  • Learn by participating in discussions
  • Recite out loud anything that needs to be remembered

Read/Write

  • Write out words again and again
  • Read notes (silently) over and over again
  • Summarize flowcharts or diagrams with words

Tactile

  • Follow your finger as you read
  • Take frequent breaks while studying
  • Pace or walk while reciting information on index cards
  • Tracing letters and words to remember facts

Tutoring Tips

  • Give visual directions and clues
  • Use flashcards, maps, graphs, color coding and other visuals to increase understanding
  • Allow the student to verbalize whenever possible
  • Talk through steps in tasks
  • Reinforce all visual directions with verbal clues
  • Allow a lot of wait time for questions
  • Utilize handouts
  • List steps used to arrive at conclusion
  • Use movement to help reinforce the concepts
  • Use manipulative learning aids
  • Use role playing
  • Use the computer to write drafts, etc.

Adapted from http://www.ccsf.edu/Services/LAC/lern10/newlearnsty.html Adapted from http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp