Teaching the Auditory Learner
Auditory learners can be a challenge for several educators. However, the problem isn’t with those types of students—it’s with the teacher. It’s up to us to adapt our lesson plans for all types of learners and look at it from their perspective.
What is an auditory learner?
■ An auditory learner is one who learns through listening. They process through their ears. In order for them to understand information, they have to physically hear what is being said, otherwise they won’t grasp it. (As opposed to visual learners who can see an example of something and learn it that way.)
Indicators you have an auditory learner in your class
■ You think a student isn’t paying attention, yet they always know the answer when you call on them.
■ Their head may down or they may be doodling.
■ They test well (good at oral exams or written responses).
■ They problem-solve by talking it through.
■ They move their lips or talk to themselves as they’re doing something.
■ Their words indicate listening over watching. They use phrases like, “I hear you,” or “I’m can’t wait to hear what you’ll be speaking about.”
■ They can listen to music and still focus.
The worst things you can do
■ Your words. Don’t say “Look at me,” or suggest everyone put their pens down and focus on you while you’re speaking. It takes auditory learners extra time to focus on you, when in reality, they can hear you just fine without looking.
■ Your presentation-style. Don’t have visually-centered classes all the time. Although some require demonstrations or a Power Point, be sure you’re still using words to talk through your demos or Power Point presentations.
■ Assumptions. Don’t assume you’re being ignored or that your students are being disrespectful by making little to no eye contact.
What to do
■ Use tone and pitch. Auditory learners respond to changes in tone and they find meaning of words by picking up on these signals. Be sure your tone and pitch reflect what you’re trying to say.
■ Get them to actively participate. In they want to remember an address, they can’t just look at it on Google maps. They have to say the address out loud. Get them to answer orally in a class setting to ensure they understood your message.
■ Put on some music. Although this can be distracting for other students, find times to introduce background noise for auditory learners. Let them thrive in your classroom.
■ Test them and find out. Unsure what learning styles you have in your classroom? Have your students take this free quiz and report their results to you!
Remember, how you learn is how you study. Don’t teach to your learning style—adapt to your students. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an educator!