Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to Spot an Auditory Learner and What to do About Him.

Learning Modalities

We all have our own learning style, or maybe I should say our own mixture of learning styles. I’m talking about the way we take information in, not how we process it. If we analyze both our child’s style and our own, we can understand better how to present material and how to avoid some major battles.

Auditory Learners

Let’s talk today about the auditory learner. I had one of these. Boy, oh boy, auditory children like to talk. They’re the ones who love to ask questions but hate the answer: “look it up.” This is kid is usually at the door when Dad gets home because he wants to be the one to recount the events of the day.


The auditory learner has many strengths which you can capitalize on. They remember things by oral repetition and are good at listening games. This child does well at memorizing math facts set to music. He may remember more details from a book read aloud or on a CD than from one he reads himself. The greatest reward for this student may be verbal praise.


But…here it comes. Even though he may like to talk problems out, sound easily distracts him. If he sees a long written assignment, he may turn his head away from the sheer overwhelming feeling of having to focus on a written page for so long.

Combining the Teacher's style with the students

If the teacher’s learning style contrasts with the student’s, there’s potential conflict brewing. I used to get frustrated with my son while teaching Algebra because I’m such a visual learner I didn’t think he could understand complicated problems without putting his eyes on the solution I worked out. Then one day I read aloud a problem to his older brother in a higher-level math book. The auditory son sat on the sofa doing his own assignment, but he called out the answer! It was my first clue that I could trust my son to understand by listening. He didn’t have to see it.
A teacher who is a visual learner will often say to her students, “Look at this.” An auditory learner will say, “Listen to this.” Which does your child need you to say?


Use CDs, lectures, group discussion, and music to aid you child if he is an auditory learner. Give him oral instructions. Play to his strengths, and then work on the weakness bit by bit.

Your turn: What do you do to help an auditory learner? Has you learning style affected your teaching style?

1 comment:

  1. I found that discovering what kind of learners my kids were made all the difference. It was like I finally spoke their languages!