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Tips & Tricks

Sound Advice for Auditory Learners

-Pat Verbal

“Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God” (Deut. 31:13).

My son, Ron loved his fifth grade teacher because she enjoyed storytelling, dramas and lively discussions. But he struggled with his sixth-grade teacher who gave assignments such as, “read three chapters and write a paper.” Because Ron and his fifth-grade teacher were auditory learners he thrived in her class. He eventually learned to use his other God-given senses but continued to rely heavily on his gift of grab.

Who are the “Chatty Cathys” or “bubbly Bryans” in your class? You’ll find them anxiously waving their hands until you call on them- or just blurting out the answers! Even if they don’t know the answers they always have something to say. These auditory learners who like to interact verbally make up about 30 percent of the population. They have a strong ear for music, memorization and foreign languages but may avoid math and pencil-and-paper activities.

Tips for Teaching Auditory learners

  • Plan activities that can be done with a partner. Pair children with different learning styles. Their combined strengths will make the project more fun.
  • Read a Bible story aloud. Challenge auditory learners to create a skit or rap and preform it for younger students.
  • When reviewing say, “Tell me what you heard in your own words.” Or let the kids make up interview questions and lead a panel discussion.
  • Give children opportunities to teach! One of the best lessons I’ve heard came from a fifth-grade boy on the value of Christian friends. When kids teach, other students are better listeners too.
  • Visit your local library for soundtracks to enhance your lesson. Look for CDs of nature sounds, city noise and many others.

Redirecting Auditory Learners

A child in my class skipped through the door every Sunday talking nonstop about her week. I discovered that when I used the “listening center” with books on tape she quickly gravitated to it, giving me time to greet other children. Since she could easily recall lessons, I asked her to lead the review game. This gave other children a chance to respond.

Sometimes bubbly Bryan seems to dominate the class. He may need auditory feedback according to Jody Capehart, co-author of The Discipline Guide (Group Publishing). “When we realize that a lot of the blurting out and excessive talking are factors relating to a learning style rather than to a discipline problem, we can be more sensitive in correcting the auditory child.” Capehart encourages teachers to talk about the rules of good manners in class and ask children to say them aloud.

Don’t be afraid to encourage silent prayers as you teach auditory learners to listen to God. Be sure they understand that prayer us a two-way street requiring listening as well as thinking. Explain that they can hear God speak as they memorize and quote His Word and listen to other Christians share what Jesus is doing in their lives. Auditory learners are a challenging group but they’re a delight to teach. You wouldn’t want a class without them!

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