Find Your Strength and Use It: Discovering Your Learning Style
September 8, 2019, 1:42 am
Think about this: Everyone has a specific learning style that makes the learning process easier for them. For the most part, we can be divided up into auditory, visual, and tactile learners. Once you discover which of these methods allows you to learn quicker and retain the knowledge better, you will be more motivated to learn.
If you are a student now, think about yourself in the classroom. If you are not, think back on when you were. Assess yourself as a student. What did you do in class? Did you take a lot of notes? Did you crane your neck to see what’s on the board? Did you sit up front so that you could hear everything the professor said?
For example, an auditory learner might speed up the learning process if he or she reads the written text out loud and repeats along with the voice recordings in the lessons. If a student is learning Swahili, listening to podcasts about the Swahili language (coming soon!) or music in Swahili might benefit this type of learner. If you are an auditory learner, make sure that you incorporate more listening and vocal repetition in your studying. Listen to the pronunciation of a word and repeat it over and over again. Allow what you are saying to become ingrained in your memory. You should find it much easier to recall a word or phrase if you remember yourself repeating it.
A visual learner will do better if he or she writes down what he or she learned during that lesson and color codes all notes. The colors should be assigned a specific meaning, such as red for important words to remember, blue for how to pronounce each word, and green for what it means. Notes on proper usage can be in orange and examples of the word in a sentence can be purple. Of course, you should assign colors based on which ones stand out to you more and your own personal preference. The assigned colors can help you recall the most important part of your notes that you may be struggling to remember. Another tool that will be beneficial to a visual learner is flashcards, especially if there are images incorporated into them. Visual learners are quick to remember not only colors but also pictures and videos. Visual learners are quick to remember not only colors but also pictures and videos. Watching YouTube videos with animations or real people translating from one language to another could help this type of learner as well.
A tactile learner needs to move in order to absorb information, so incorporating some kind of movement into his or her studying session—such as walking around while studying or tracing words with fingertips (finger spelling)—will help. Another thing a tactile learner could try: when reading the words or sentences in lesson plans and flashcards, try drawing them or acting them out physically, if it makes sense to do so. If the word is “apple,” try using your finger to draw the shape of an apple in the air. Or try drawing one with a pen on paper—up to you. If the phrase is, “George placed an apple on the teacher’s desk,” perform the sentence as if it is a movie script and you are the actor. Get up, walk to the invisible (or a real) desk and place the imaginary (or real) apple on the desk as you repeat the sentence. For more ideas, watch YouTube videos with translators or actors performing certain movements as they speak and imitate them. If that feels silly, try using your hands to emphasize what you are saying while you speak. Be overly expressive. Point, gesture, clasp and unclasp your hands—just make sure you are allowing your body to move.
Whichever of these tips might appeal to you, incorporate that into your daily study session as you learn a new language. Find your strength and use it. It will pay off, and soon, you’ll be speaking Swahili—or whichever language you are learning—without difficulty.