A Teacher's Guide to Multisensory Learning
144 pages
2008
ISBN: 9781416607137

Contents

A Teacher's Guide to Multisensory Learning: Improving Literacy by Engaging the Senses

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Lawrence Baines

Discover how teachers can motivate students and help them retain more knowledge longer by using sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and movement in the classroom. In this first-ever guide to multisensory learning, author Lawrence Baines explains how teachers in every grade and subject can change curriculum from a series of assignments to a series of multisensory experiences that engage more students and make learning more memorable and fun. Samples of student work and grading criteria are included to help you make sure that your multisensory approaches lead to specific standards-based learning objectives.

Extract from the Introduction

In this book, I offer an argument for the use of multisensory techniques as a foundational strategy for teaching. Chapter 1 describes the dramatic changes in the use of leisure time and the decline in reading among children and young adults in the recent past. Students who inhabit schools today truly possess different talents, skills, and weaknesses than students who preceded them. Chapter 1 explains how and why students are different and emphasizes the urgency of developing a more engaging and authentic approach to instruction, especially in light of the centrality of literacy to 21st century skills, as noted by a plethora of special commission reports and recommendations.

Chapter 2 offers a brief overview of the history, milestones, and seminal studies in fields related to multisensory learning. One major point of the chapter is that teaching through abstract representation is one of the least effective methods for cultivating learning. Unfortunately, because it is easy to implement, teaching through abstract representation continues to be among the most popular instructional methods in schools today.

Chapters 3 to 6 describe specific research relating to each sense—sight, sound, smell and taste, movement and touch—with commentary on a few studies that seem especially pertinent to teachers. Chapters 3 to 6 also feature proven multisensory lessons straight from the classroom, many replete with samples of student work.

Chapter 7 asserts the importance of making learning fun. Through ingenious simulations, these final activities demonstrate the effectiveness of learning through a sense of play.

To close the loop, samples of student work and grading criteria are included with most activities. To provide consistency, I adapted the 6-point scale commonly used by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to assess competence in writing.

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