Multi-sensory learning

What is multi-sensory learning?

All of us learn through all our senses. Some of us learn better through one sense than another. Some pupils learn best through visual approaches; others through auditory approaches; yet others through a combination of the two.

For some pupils the written word is not an optional extra but an integral part of their learning process. Many pupils enjoy work which involves an active, physical response and learn well where such methods are employed. One of the advantages of using visual, audio and tactile materials to support textual ones is that the resulting mixture of styles means that teaching will be appropriate for a wider range of learners. It’s not all that difficult, just look at what you’re already doing, see what senses are already being used, see how the task could be extended to use at least one other sense too. Try to involve all the senses from time to time. Some examples:

Sight text, pictures, graphics

Sound listening to teacher and others, to recordings, videos; talking, shouting, whispering, singing, rhymes, story-telling, clapping rhythmically to indicate syllabic stress, etc.

Touch handling objects, making things, describing shapes, gesturing, using computer keyboard, etc.)

Taste sampling food and drink, ‘savouring the language’ (articulation? intonation)

Action manual and physical activity; games involving manipulating objects or moving about.

Handout on active-and-multisensory-approaches to download