In this lesson, consider what qualities you’ll find in a verbal/linguistic learner and what strategies can support them. Come away with some concrete examples to try in your own classroom.
A Way with Words
Do you love learning new words? Do you find that discussion and conversation tend to help you grasp information from a class? Are you a natural-born writer or speaker? Does entering a library make you swoon?If so, you may have an inclination toward a verbal/linguistic style of learning. In this lesson, you’ll learn more about what this style entails and how to better support students who learn best through words.
Verbal/Linguistic Learning Style
When one learns best through the written and spoken word, the person can be said to have a verbal/linguistic learning style. Verbal learning style can be closely associated with an auditory learning style, in which a person learns best from what they hear, but verbal learners are specifically interested in the words they hear.A person who leans toward a verbal/linguistic learning style will tend to pick up new words easily and have a large vocabulary. Words may be pleasurable to this person, including a willingness to read a great deal or simply prefer the written and spoken word to other forms of learning, such as hands-on tasks.
This doesn’t mean a person can’t or won’t learn through other approaches, just that this is a preference of the person. Think about learning style as similar to having a dominant hand. While we are most comfortable and effective using that hand, if we have to switch hands or learning styles, we can.
Strategies for Verbal Learners
When a person with a verbal/linguistic style of learning finds herself in a classroom setting, what’s going to help her to really make the most of the information provided? Luckily, most classes involve quite a lot of built-in opportunities for a student who learns best this way. From class discussions to reading material, words are a big part of most school environments.What more can you do as a teacher to support students who have this preferred style?First of all, recognize the value of students transforming new information into their own words.
For a student who likes to think out loud, allow for debates and conversation that give students permission to try to reword what has been taught. For example, if you were discussing the historical events leading up to World War I, you might ask if any students would like to see if they can summarize the timeline themselves with a few sentences.Some students with this style may prefer to write out their thoughts.
For those who favor writing, provide plenty of opportunity to digest information in notes or journals. Even rewriting notes or reading them aloud may be helpful to a verbal/linguistic learner.Students may benefit from learning through plays on words, word games, or coming up with catchy phrases or stories for memorization. For instance, to remember which European countries border one another, perhaps a verbal/linguistic learner could come up with a story made up of words they can remember to guide them from one location to the next to help them recall the geography of this region later.
Activities that engage verbal learners in word-friendly environments will be especially appreciated. For example, students may be drawn toward libraries, book stores, online study resources, plays, poetry readings, and book clubs, to name a few. While some students may be clamoring for other rewards when they do well in your class, keep in mind that a few would love nothing more than to have some time with a treasured book, to write out a short story, or to watch a performance that weaves words in a new way.
Students who tend toward a verbal/linguistic style of learning will gain a great deal from exposure to words both written and spoken. Since words are central to the experience of most classrooms, students with this preference may find themselves lucky enough to have natural opportunities to use their strength. Yet there is more that you can offer a student with this style.
Understand students’ desire to put new information into their own words. Appreciate the value of restating what is seen, heard, or experienced, and give students a chance to restate this. Offer opportunities for discussion and conversation to students with this style, along with a chance to put their thoughts into writing.