Despite the notion’s popularity, the truth is that students can’t be classified into categories like “visual learners” or “auditory learners.” The learning styles myth has been around a long time – and it’s helped push teachers and schools toward developing new kinds of curriculum – but that doesn’t make it true. What we know works, however, is that teens learn best when they’re engaged.
When students find excitement in a subject, when their interests are piqued, when they spontaneously become curious — that’s when learning happens.
Through engagement, students discover value in a lesson. They become invested in their own learning. Independent schools are leaders in developing approaches to pedagogy that drive student engagement in the classroom. Through hands-on activities, real-world experiences, and learner-centered instruction, they are constantly in search of new ways to grow the school environment and help young minds bloom.
Learning How to Learn
For many students, the biggest successes come from learning how to learn. For example, studying is one of the most helpful skills that students develop at school. No matter what kind of career they choose in life, good study skills will equip them with the ability to stay informed of new industry developments and succeed. But merely lauding the results of study skills doesn't instill their worth in young minds.
The best teachers know how to make study skills enjoyable. How? One way is by showcasing mnemonic devices or songs that can help in retention. After all, who doesn't remember the order of the planets from "My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles" or the legislative process describe in Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a Bill"?
The most successful methods reach all students, all the time, regardless of their learning style. Students who appear to do better with the visual material will need to develop their learning to encompass more than just one approach. We know that experiential learning holds rewards through its hands-on engagement of students. And we know that young minds can and will learn in as many different ways as there are students.
We believe that moving the instruction outside the classroom can encourage the concept of learning beyond the school yard. When teens are given opportunities to learn in authentic situations like those provided in the community - internships, field trips, and service-learning projects - the learning becomes significantly more powerful. Experiential learning supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or situations. Through their interactions in authentic environments, teens develop the competencies they need for real-world success.