Is Student Engagement an Issue?

Engaging our students in learning can sometimes be a challenge. How can we overcome that challenge? How can we get our students to feel the joy of learning and actively participate in our classrooms? One effective way to engage our students is to incorporate multiple modalities into our teaching.

What are Multiple Modalities?

What are multiple modalities? Modalities are instructional practices that include the use of students’ senses, skills, interests, and learning style. Modalities include visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (movement), and tactile (touch). Howard Gardner’s research reveals eight modalities or intelligences that can be incorporated into lessons including musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical, mathematical, naturalist, spatial, and bodily-kinesthetic. If a teacher includes more than one modality in a lesson, she is using multiple modalities.

What’s the Benefit of Using Multiple Modalities?

Every student learns differently. Our goal as teachers is to teach ALL students. If an effort to reach all students, teachers need to present content in a variety of ways using a variety of modalities. Tyrone for example, might be able to learn from hearing his teacher talk, but Jose’ may need to touch and feel actual objects to help him learn. Brittney needs to act out things that she is learning and learns best through movement, while Joe needs to talk about and discuss the content that he’s learning about. A teacher with these four students in her classroom (amongst many others!) would achieve the highest student outcomes by presenting every lesson through multiple modalities including auditory (Tyrone), tactile (Jose’), kinesthetic movement (Brittney), and visual (Joe).

Would you like more information about using multiple modalities in your classroom to help your students acquire oral language? Check out our Webinar, Engaging Every Learner: Multiple Modalities in Language Acquisition hosted by Julie Baxa.

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Get practical insights and ideas as a superintendent, principal, teacher or parent into helping our children overcome language barriers.