Multi-Sensory Curriculum

People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that multisenory education is for children with learning issues. Although multisenory education is an excellent method for children with dyslexia, ADD, English as a second language and other learning challenges, it is beneficial to all children, even those that are gifted.

Multisensory education is a method of teaching that encompasses all of the senses regardless of the learning styles of the children. Although a child might be naturally equipped to learn easier using one style, it does not mean that it is the only style that child can learn from. Nor does it mean that a child can’t be taught to learn other ways. In fact, studies have shown that comprehension and academic ability benefit greatly from multisensory education.

Cora D. Dzubak, Ph. D. wrote a paper on Learning Styles and Memory. Here is an excerpt from her report:

“Input is maximized when students focus their attention and use active, multisensory study strategies resulting in the storage of information in multiple regions of the brain, depending on the type of sensory input. It stands to reason that if it is even minimally productive to use one sensory for information input, such as might be done by a visual learner, then maximizing information processing using multiple channels should result in maximal stimulation to the brain and increased storage.”

Most people tend to think of learning styles as the following: 

Visual (Spatial)  visual learners prefer pictures, images, drawings, etc
Aural (Auditory)  aural learners prefer sound, lectures, books on cd, music, etc
Physical (Kinesthetic)  verbal learners prefer to use words in both speech and writing

Some learning styles that are less talked about are the following:

Logical (Mathematical)  logical learners prefer to use systems, processes and logic
Social (Interpersonal)  social learners prefer to learn in groups 
Solitary (Intrapersonal)  solitary learners prefer to learn independently 

Most people have more than one style that they prefer.  For example, someone might be both a visual and solitary learner.  

Multisensory education benefits all children regardless of age and ability.  Girls of American History uses the pattern Read it, Hear it, See it, Write it, and Do it.  This method of education has been found to be more engaging, entertaining and memorable.  Learning should be fun for all children, who wouldn't rather learn about the Great Depression by making their own HoBo meal over an outdoor fire pit, the Nez Perce by creating a riding a horse, or the Southwestern United States by creating their own clay pot.

Below are additional articles and research that has been done on the subject.

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/multisensory-instruction-what-you-need-to-know

http://faculty.ucr.edu/~aseitz/pubs/Shams_Seitz08.pdf

http://learningabledkids.com/multi_sensory_training/page2-whymultisensory.htm

https://dyslexiaida.org/multisensory-structured-language-teaching/

http://www.languageswithoutlimits.co.uk/activelearning.html

http://www.howtolearn.com/2012/12/learning-is-multi-sensory-how-to-engage-all-the-senses-so-children-really-benefit/

http://learning.gov.wales/docs/learningwales/publications/140801-multi-sensory-learning-en.pdf

http://rdw.rowan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=etd