9th September 2022
How To Teach Auditory Learners
An individual’s learning style is their naturally favoured way of taking on and retaining information. People don’t have a choice as to which type of learner they are – that’s dictated by the size and make-up of your brain tissue! Data from a 2020 study shows that students and children are more likely to have auditory learning style preferences. If teachers are able to recognise and identify pupils with different learning styles in their classes, teaching can be tailored to be as impactful as possible. For example, if you know you have 5 pupils who fit the Auditory Learning style, they could be given a different part of a task to your Kinaesthetic Learners.
What Are The VARK Learning Styles?
There are four main learning styles, most people will be a mix of all three with one that takes precedence. Research shows that Auditory Learners are the largest category, making up around 25% of the population. If you’re interested in finding out which type of learner you are, you can take an online learning style quiz.
- Visual – learn best with imagery and visual aids – read our post about Visual Learning here
- Kinesthetic – learn through movement and tactility – read our post about Kinesthetic Learning here
- Auditory – learn through listening and speaking
- Reading/writing – learn best by reading and taking notes
What is auditory learning?
Auditory learning is when someone learns best through listening. This means that an auditory learner would prefer to learn by listening to something rather than reading a textbook, for example. If a student is an auditory learner, they may speak out loud to process information and respond well to verbal instructions rather than written ones.
What are the characteristics of auditory learners?
Auditory learners have many characteristics that make them great learners and students. Some of these traits include:
- A strong memory of spoken information
- Good public speaking
- Great listening skills
- Excel at oral exams
- Great storytellers
- Benefit from reading aloud
- Distracted by noise and silence
- Loves having conversations
- Good at explaining things verbally
- Can tackle complex topics by speaking aloud
- Works well in groups
- May talk/whisper when reading things
What are the benefits of auditory learning?
Every learning style has its own set of benefits and auditory learners make great students.
- Critical thinking skills – auditory learners have strong critical thinking skills as they’re able to talk through complex subjects with others and love communicating to learn.
- Great listeners – when someone learns through listening, they’re great at hearing what others have to say.
- Memory – auditory learners retain the information they hear quickly and accurately.
- Conversationalists – audio learners love to learn new perspectives and have conversations with others.
What are the disadvantages of auditory learning?
Auditory learning focuses largely on audio which means written comprehension may not be as strong:
- Written comprehension – auditory learners may struggle to comprehend written instructions.
- Audio distractions – loud background noises or silence can distract auditory learners as they are hyper-focused on sound.
- Speaking out loud – auditory learners like to speak or whisper aloud to learn which can pose difficulties in test environments.
How can teachers recognise auditory learners?
Auditory learners are best able to retain and recall information that they hear. Verbal instruction, audio revision and recorded lectures are all ideal ways to impart knowledge to an auditory learner. In the classroom, this type of learner may display some of the following characteristics, but not necessarily all of them. Selene Watt’s ‘Teaching Yourself To Teach’ guide for teachers, identified some key indicators of auditory learners:
- Auditory learners benefit from repetition, so you might notice them repeating new information out loud, this could be repeating instructions or reading aloud.
- They may be the chatterbox in your class, young auditory learners gather information through speaking with others and love communicating with fellow students.
- During conversations with others, you may hear an auditory learner uses phrases like “tell me” or “explain to me”.
- A learner of this type will prefer activities that involve discussion, singing or otherwise vocalising new concepts and facts.
- Auditory learners often move their lips when reading or whisper to themselves to process information.
- Someone who is an auditory learner remembers instructions easily, so you might find they respond well to verbal directions.
- If you teach using songs, you’ll find that auditory learners can memorise the song after only one or two plays.
- Music benefits auditory learners and you might find they work best with rhythmic music playing quietly in the background.
Why not try your pupils with a Learning Style quiz too?
How to teach auditory learners?
Understanding different learning styles is hugely beneficial for your students as they can benefit from tailored teaching. Adjusting work and presenting information in a more auditory way is key to teaching auditory learners. A 2017 study found that teachers who tailored lessons to different learning styles maximised students’ potential, helped them succeed and increased their self-confidence. When lessons are taught with learning styles in mind, students are encouraged to take advantage of their personal skills.
Auditory learning strategies
There are several strategies to help auditory learners thrive in the classroom and make the most of their personal strengths.
- Discussion and debate – Auditory learners love to discuss new ideas and debate their point of view. Setting up two sides to debate a topic or using a ‘talking stick’ for classroom discussion is a fun way to encourage auditory learners.
- Teaching others – Auditory learners are great at verbally teaching others new topics. Why not encourage them to teach the class a topic or a younger group? This will boost their confidence and presentation skills.
- Utilise audio in the classroom – Making use of audio teaching resources such as audiobooks, podcasts and TED Talks will hugely benefit auditory learners.
- Mnemonics- Creating mnemonics for important information helps auditory learners memorise topics and recall them later on.
- Oral presentations –Developing public speaking skills is great for all students, not just auditory learners. Why not set up a research project that involves presenting ideas to smaller groups in the class?
- Reading aloud – Encouraging the class to take turns reading a book aloud is a great activity for auditory learners. They process information much faster when they read it aloud and hear others read. It’s also a great way for the whole class to practice reading in front of others.
- Lecture lessons – Rather than using textbooks for children to learn from, why not teach verbally or with online programmes? This will help auditory learners take on information quicker.
- Play quiet background music – Using audio to help auditory learners focus using quiet background music is a great way to encourage them to stay on task. A busy, loud environment or silence can distract auditory learners, so a steady background soundtrack can aid concentration.
5 Tips for auditory learners
Auditory learners can thrive in a classroom environment with the right tips. If you’re an auditory learner, here are some ideas for taking advantage of your learning style:
- Ask questions – auditory learners learn best when hearing answers and asking questions.
- Study buddy – auditory learners will thrive with a study buddy who they can ask questions, discuss ideas and repeat what they learn to one another.
- Play background music – when focussing, having background music playing will help you focus as an auditory learner.
- Join in discussions – auditory learners are good at having conversations and debating. Learning through others is a great activity.
- Repetition – repeating facts and information out loud is a great way to study for auditory learners.
5 auditory learning tips for teachers
If you have auditory learners in your classroom, tailoring lessons to their learning style is an excellent way to boost their confidence and help them to succeed. Here are some top tips for teaching auditory learners:
- Noise levels – A quiet and calm environment with background music supports auditory learning, so be aware of the noise level in your classroom – consider creating a ‘quiet corner’ if you have the space!
- Encourage repetition – encourage auditory learners by asking them to repeat information in their own words, this will help them memorise ideas.
- Record your classes – consider recording your lessons so auditory learners can listen back and get the most out of your teachings.
- Add social activities to lessons – auditory learners are great at interacting with others and learn best this way. Why not set up paired readings, group work, discussions, debates and presentations?
- Run Q&A sessions – try teaching topics differently with Q&A sessions, this will help auditory learners remember complicated lessons easier.