At the most basic level, our brains perceive stimuli through the five senses—seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Studies show that most people learn best and retain the most information when ideas are presented in a multisensory fashion. Novice teachers are often advised to let the wisdom of Confucius guide their planning: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
According to the second Landmark Teaching Principles™, Multisensory Teaching is effective for all students. In general, it means presenting all information to students via three sensory modalities: visual, auditory, and tactile. Visual presentation techniques include graphic organizers for structuring writing and pictures for reinforcing instruction; auditory presentation techniques include conducting thorough discussions and reading aloud; tactile presentation techniques include manipulating blocks and creating paragraphs about objects students can hold in their hands. Overall, implementing a multisensory approach to teaching is not difficult; in fact, many teachers use such an approach. It is important, however, to be aware of the three sensory modes and to plan to integrate them every day.
When teaching remotely, creating multisensory lessons can be a challenge that seems impossible when students are learning via a computer screen. However, engaging the senses is still a vital part of instructional design for not only students with specific learning disabilities, but for all students. Although teachers cannot create space for students to physically touch and manipulate items during remote lessons, they can create opportunities, using popular programs like Flippity or Quizlet, for students to use their senses in a new way as a means to learn new information. A demonstration of some features of Flippity can be viewed below.
For the full text of Landmark’s Six Teaching Principles™, including “Use Multisensory Approaches,” click here.
Mathematics: Sorting Numbers
This is a hands-on activity in which students categorize numbers (positive/negative) to reinforce their understanding of vocabulary.Download
English / Language-Arts: Paragraph Manipulatives
In this activity, students read sentences silently or aloud and physically move them into the correct order.Download
General Classroom Strategy: Use Multisensory ApproachesDownload
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