Most people have five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Our senses are our means for gathering data and learning about our world.
Most of us, though, depend so strongly on our sight and hearing, that we neglect the other three portals of learning, and that’s a shame.
If you doubt the importance of those other three, just think of Helen Keller. Blind and deaf from infancy, she had a brilliant mind and learned everything through touch, taste, and smell. The untapped potential is powerful!
So let’s look at ways to teach that will appeal to all five senses.
SIGHT is most people’s primary means of collecting information. It’s easy to include a visual aspect in learning through books, demonstrations, and videos. A visual aid will reinforce your lessons even if your child is not a visual learner.
SMELL is the most frequently overlooked sense, but may be the most powerful in terms of evoking memories. Have you ever walked in a pine forest? Danced in the rain? Tilled fresh earth? Doesn’t the thought of fresh peaches or a roasting holiday turkey make your mouth water and bring back a flood of recollections? Health professionals can even identify diseases by their smell. Whenever possible try to include and call attention to olfactory elements in your lessons.
HEARING is the second most common means of acquiring information. Lectures, oral reading, performances, music–even if your student is not an auditory learner, an audio element provides great reinforcement to any learning experience.
The sense of TASTE is another source of data input we frequently overlook, but it can add a layer of fun and richness to learning experiences. It’s always in good “taste” to use them. 😉
TOUCHING, FEELING, getting our hands dirty…tactile experiences bring learning to life. When I read or hear about a lesson, I’m taking someone else’s word for it, but when I do it myself, the experience is personal and much more memorable.
How would your teaching improve if you challenged yourself to include at least three sensory elements in your lessons?