Use Multi-sensory Approaches
By: Landmark Outreach Staff
The Landmark School Outreach Program’s mission is to empower students with language-based learning disabilities by offering their teachers an exemplary program of applied research and professional development.
At the most basic level, our brains perceive stimuli through the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Some people’s sensory perception is stronger in one area than another, and most of us learn best when information and 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.”
When a student is involved in an activity, all the senses are engaged.
Landmark Teaching Principle #2: Use Multisensory Approaches
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.
The strategies below offer suggestions to spark thinking about how we can use Landmark’s second Teaching Principle and layer in multisensory instruction without losing valuable time.
Free Landmark Teaching Strategies
- Mathematics: Sorting Numbers This is a hands-on activity in which students categorize numbers (positive/negative) to reinforce their understanding of vocabulary.
- English / Language Arts: Paragraph Manipulatives In this activity, students read sentences silently or aloud and physically move them into the correct order.
- General Classroom Strategy: Use Multisensory Approaches Five suggestions for implementing multisensory instruction.