The best way to make children learn is to allow them to see it! Hear it! Do it! Touch it! And here’s why?
“Tell me and I’ll forget,
Show me and I may remember,
Involve me and I’ll understand.”
The above Chinese proverb expresses in three lines what multisensory learning is all about. It is learning that involves two or more of the senses among the five (sound, sight, feel, smell, taste) in the same activity. This comes naturally as the world we live in is experienced through multisensory stimulation. The human brain has evolved to learn and operate optimally in multisensory environments. Hence, multisensory training procedures are close to natural settings and therefore are effective for learning.
In order to create a true multisensory environment, begin by asking these three simple questions during each lesson.
- What can you hear?
- What can you see?
- What can you do?
Reinforcing the auditory elements of learning is an important aspect of maximizing understanding. Regularly play recordings. Help children to dissect sounds, pick up the rhythm leading to a highly developed sense of hearing. Using color is an effective way to reinforce visual learning. Employ black and white symbols and images as an image is worth a thousand words. Also use large fonts, bold headings, bulleted lists and plenty of white space. Finally, incorporate movement into your lessons. Let students move their hands, snap fingers, nod heads and tap their feet.
Here are 9 advantages of multisensory learning
- Improves memory by providing redundancy, reinforcement and using the whole brain. Multisensory exposure can result in better recognition.
- Works for all kinds of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic
- Reduces cognitive load and promotes dual coding – more information is processed if split into and presented by several channels
- New multisensory associations in the brain can develop rapidly. Even alters responses in unisensory areas of the brain.
- Neural plasticity – The brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new connections throughout life – is highly enhanced, especially if the multisensory learning starts early in the child’s life.
- Increases concentration and focus
- Develops critical thinking – a sense of cause and effect
- Promotes mental and physical relaxation. Stress drops dramatically
- Increases opportunity for choice and self determination and improves communication and sharing.
It is painfully obvious why most children struggle with learning. Most if not all of our education barring the preschool is devoid of multisensory learning. Incorporating it into the lessons is a win-win both to the children and parents. By broadening the palette of learning style instead of focusing on one style of learning, brings in fun, joy and creativity to learning itself. And, learning will no more be a chore but an inviting opportunity for the child to explore and grow.