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Learning Modalities – How We Learn



People process concepts differently, so there are different ways in which they learn best. When teaching, I always adhere to the Ancient Chinese Proverb:

Tell me,   

I forget.

Show me,

I remember.

Involve me,

I understand.

Children’s learning elevates to a higher functioning level when they show interest in something they are passionate about. Educators have always been faced with the daunting task of having to teach students with a diverse range of learning styles and abilities. By presenting skills and concepts in a variety of ways, you will reach kids who understand and learn best through specific modalities; simply through the senses. The four major modalities educators focus on are: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile.


The exchange of knowledge from teachers to students is like an artist starting with a blank canvas being inspired by many creative thoughts and motivations. Conscientious teachers get to know their students well enough to understand that in different ways, how some learn faster than others.  However, it is impossible for students to go through school without being exposed to various combinations of teaching methods and styles. After students have had an initial diagnosis and the remediation process is in place, always keep the following questions in mind in reference to skills and concepts to be taught:

  1. Which modalities seem to be most successful in getting the students to learn?

  2. What lessons and materials can be used in teaching specifics?

  3. How much instructional time and drill are necessary?

  4. How will I be able to differentiate instruction using different learning modalities?

The greatest question that all teachers ponder daily is: “What can I do to get every student to learn what I am teaching?” The answer is to remember to incorporate all of the learning modalities when you plan your lessons in order to differentiate instruction. Using these tools along with your personal strengths as a teacher will assure that you have put forth every effort to help your students understand.