Imagine sitting in a high school or college classroom. The instructor is lecturing. You hate lecture. You are having a hard time paying attention. You keep nodding off. Fortunately it is a large class where no one seems to notice or care. You are trying to take notes but you are struggling to write more than scribbles.
After that lecture class is your lab class where you get to be hands-on with the course material. You are assigned a lab partner. You get to talk together while you are experimenting. You really enjoy this class.
What is the difference? We all have preferred learning styles. And they are true for us in Sunday School just as much as they are in Chemistry or any learning setting. There are two major reasons why we should pay attention to the learning styles of class attenders:
- When we teach using methods that address the individual’s learning style, he/she pays more attention and is more interested in what is being taught.
- When we teach using methods that address the individual’s learning style, he/she tends to remember (retain) what was learned longer.
Those two reasons alone make discovering attenders’ learning styles important. There are many free online tools for self-discovery. Here are three simple inventories which may be printed: Learning Style Inventory, Got Style, and Learning Style Inventory. All three look at auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles.
Other inventories may include more than 4-8 or more learning styles. One with four learning styles is Jody Capehart’s Touching Hearts, Changing Lives, 1999, p. 17: relator, researcher, organizer, and doer. LifeWay has used one for years that has eight learning styles: relational, musical, logical, natural, physical, reflective, visual, and verbal (see Johnston and Brown’s Teaching the Jesus Way, 2000, pp. 152-154).
Use an inventory to discover your attenders’ learning styles. Then use methods that address those learning styles. In my experience, if you have six or more attenders, you will likely have every learning style represented in your classroom. So that means you will want to vary methods regularly to address those varied learning styles.
It is sinful to make studying God’s Word boring! Capture interest. Increase retention. Discover and address learning styles. Vary methods. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!