Are you listening?

Today we continue our discussion about the different learning types. So far we talked about 3 basic types of learners and went into some detail about visual learners. We’ll continue and this time explore…


So are you listening? Yes, you right there who is not looking at me when I’m speaking to you…

You can tell an auditory learner almost immediately particularly in a group situation. Your visual learners will be looking at you and seemingly paying attention, while their minds are wandering. But your auditory learner might be visually zoning out, looking at nothing in particular and might have their head turned with one ear toward you.

That’s your auditory learner right there… he’s listening to every single word you say, while at the same time looking at his feet or scratching the back of his neck. I encounter this a lot in class, particularly with kids who haven’t been taught to “look at someone when they’re talking to you” (which by the way is counter-intuitive for an auditory learner who might generally prefer to turn to hear you).

Auditory learners also like to hear themselves speak… they can’t keep quiet for long, but they like to listen to learn and follow verbal directions well.

Which way are his
eyes pointing?

A quick test for an auditory learner is to watch their eye movements when asked a question about a place or time they remember. You’ll recall visual people will generally look up to their left for remembering images, and up to their right when constructing them. Auditory learners tend to look either horizontally to their left (remembering sound) or to their right (constructing sound).

Ever had a someone play guitar just for you? They kind of give you this creepy zoned out look where you’re not sure where they’re focusing their gaze, but it’s really them listening and thinking as they play.

Auditory people also use words like “I hear what you’re saying”, “Let me explain it again for you” and “Listen to that!”.

So this is all great and fascinating stuff, but how the heck do you teach those guys when you’ve shown them 5 times already Mr. Visual karate instructor??


Just use your voice! 


Give clear verbal instruction.

And have your students repeat back to you or someone else, what you just explained

Try this with your students…

A little exercise I do sometimes in class is to teach a technique visually and verbally, and then have students pair up and take turns teaching it to each other. You’ll notice your visual learners will just show the technique and your auditory learners will break it down, step by step with explanation.

So that brings us to the conclusion of our brief discussion on auditory learners. Who’s up next??

Hmmm…well let’s just say you’ll have to experience it to understand all about those crazy kinesthetic learners…

Until next time.


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