A Multisensory Approach to Learning

Elmhurst School for Boys

18th October 2018 | Heads Blog

It is a well-known fact that we all have our own preferred style of learning and there has been much research around visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learning styles. Some of us will better remember what we learn if we see what we are learning, touch manipulatives in support of our learning, ‘do’ something related to the learning or hear what we are learning. It makes sense then as educators, that we understand that our pupils will learn the objectives if they are able to see, touch, do or hear what they need to learn.

At Elmhurst, we are committed to facilitating the opportunity for all boys to access the curriculum. Therefore, we take a ‘multisensory’ approach to learning. Continuous Provision in Early Years provides a free flow of activities where the boys learn through play but with a multisensory approach. Similarly, the carousel in Key Stage 1 offers four activities, one of which is independent. The boys rotate through the different activities and by the time they have completed all four tasks, they have seen, felt, heard and carried out a variety of activities relating to the Learning Objective.

The Inspire Maths programme also supports the multisensory approach with providing concrete, pictorial and then abstract experiences for the boys in their learning of mathematical concepts. The use of mathematical manipulatives offers those tactile learners the opportunity to engage with the learning, the pictures support the visual learners, teachers talk for the auditory learners and the abstract offers the opportunity for the boys to demonstrate their understanding of the objective through independent written tasks.

Progress data for learning Maths through the Inspire Maths programme is very promising and because the multisensory approach does not single out any particular learning style, all boys are able to access the curriculum.

With the multisensory approach proving successful in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and through the Inspire Maths programme at Elmhurst, I am keen to work on applying these same principles across our whole curriculum in the future.

- AJ Padfield

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