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Literacy learning in a Multimedia World.

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Should multisensory learning be implemented in all schools?

What is multisensory learning

Multisensory education simply put involves helping students to learn using one or more of their senses rather being sat in a classroom and having a teacher talk at them. Multisensory learning allows students to use all their senses to learn, for example rather than simply being told by a teacher about how plants grow students can grow their own, by doing this they can visually see how the plant changes how the plant changes over time, they can feel the soil in order to discover how much water the plants need to grow and they can plant it and water it themselves. Using the different senses it would take to complete this task could meant that students don’t get bored or distracted in lessons instead it could encourage more participation and excitement whilst allowing students to give their own predication about what they believe is going to happen to the plants. Multisensory education is most commonly used to help students with learning disabilities study more effectively. Students with learning difficulties usually have a difficulty with one or more of the following areas: reading, spelling, writing, math, reading comprehension, and expressive language (Praveen, n.d.). Therefore, students can use their own personal strengths to help themselves learn. According to some researchers students have a strength in at least one area of multisensory learning, and when students are taught to learn using techniques that support their personal learning style they find that they can study easier and retain information better (Praveen, n.d.). Studies have shown that even students that do not have any type of learning difficulty find that they enjoy learning using multisensory techniques and go on to achieve better grades in tests.

Benefits of multisensory learning

There are many benefits that schools would come across if they encouraged their staff members to use multisensory learning during their lesson, for example:

  • Multisensory teaching enables every child, regardless of preferred learning method, to be able access and understand relevant information effectively.
  • Multisensory teaching stimulates the brain which in turn helps to improve the functions of the brain like listening skills, movement, and vision (Klinger, 2015).
  • Students are usually more able to stay attentive and focused when they are learning using multisensory techniques rather than being sat in a classroom and being read the relevant information from a book, the work instantly become more fun and exciting and teacher will find their students being keen to learn.
  • All students learn in different ways, so for teachers having more understanding of this and the techniques that can be used to encourage learning will end up being extremely beneficial for the whole class who will be able to learn more effectively.

Barriers of multisensory teaching

While there do not seem to be many disadvantages to implementing multisensory teaching their may be some circumstances where it might be difficult to fully apply these new techniques, for example:

  • Some children especially those with Autism may struggle with using their senses, often autism is accompanied with being overwhelmed by smells, tastes, sounds and even some students with autism may feel unable to touch certain objects and textures. This may make it difficult for teachers to come up with effective ways for Autistic students to use as many of their senses as possible whilst learning and will create a lot of work for teaching staff to research the most effective way for these students to learn using their senses..
  • Other issues with implementing multisensory teaching could be the extra work that will be created for teachers, rather than teaching an ordinary lesson, teachers will have to spend extra time planning lessons that engage as many senses as possible. However, while this will be extra work many teachers may believe that it would be worth it if it allows students to excel in their lessons and achieve higher grades.

How multisensory learning is currently being used in schools…

While trying to teach their classes about what syllables, many schools teach their students to clap their hands whilst saying the words in order to work out how many syllables there are in each word, by doing this it allows for the learning technique to become more memorable to the students and so is likely to be something that they think about when they are taking a test and are asked a question about syllables. Students may also find lessons that are interactive like this to be more enjoyable and interesting.  

Other schools support their students in their spelling and writing by setting up trays of sand for the pupils to be able to uses their fingers to write out the letters, other teachers encourage air writing, both of these techniques helps with the students muscle memory (Morin, n.d.).

And so, to some up…

Research shows that all students whether they have a learning disability or not would benefit immensely from having daily teaching becoming more multisensory. It allows them to become more engaged in their lessons and this would in turn lead to better work completed and improved grades. Multisensory learning means that education seems more enjoyable and entertaining and less like a difficult, boring, and uninviting lesson. Teachers may witness their students looking forward to lessons that they may have previously dreaded. From my blog the only negatives that seem to exist from all schools implementing multisensory techniques in their education is that it creates extra work for teachers, however many might argue that this is worth the effort if it ensures students are going to enjoy their education more and be able to learn more effectively. This lesson planning can also be shared among however many teachers there are in a year group, so each class is completing the same work.

References

Klinger, W., 2015. 3 Reasons Why You Should Use Multisensory Teaching Techniques. [online] Whooo’s Reading Blog. Available at: <http://blog.whooosreading.org/use-multisensory-teaching-techniques/#:~:text=Multisensory%20teaching%20techniques%20stimulate%20the,vision%2C%20tactile%20recognition%20and%20conceptualization.&gt;.

Morin, A., n.d. 8 Multisensory Techniques For Teaching Reading. [online] Understood.org. Available at: <https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/8-multisensory-techniques-for-teaching-reading&gt;.

Praveen, A., n.d. What Is Multisensory Teaching Techniques? | Learning Center For Children Who Learn Differently, Their Teachers And Parents In Dubai, Middle East. [online] Lexiconreadingcenter.org. Available at: <https://www.lexiconreadingcenter.org/what-is-multisensory-teaching-techniques/&gt;.

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