A while ago I wrote a blog post about tips for recognizing a reflective learner in your group. You can read that post HERE. I figured it might be fun to give you tips for recognizing (and teaching) a verbal learner. Actually, recognizing a verbal learner might be quite easy but what most of us may struggle with are strategies for engaging a verbal learner.
My youngest daughter is without question a verbal learner. I tell people all the time that if I can get her to stop talking for five minutes she will be completely asleep, and for the most part that is true. The only exception we’ve found to that truth is if she is engaged in a game or watching TV. In those instances, she can keep quiet for about 10 minutes or so without falling asleep. Here are some ways you can identify verbal learners in your group.
- A verbal learner loves to talk. This probably goes without saying, but verbal learners just really like to talk. Talking is one of the ways that a verbal learner will work out problems and create solutions. Talking isn’t bad but sometimes it can be used at not opportune times. When that happens, redirect the behavior by refocusing the child’s attention on your discussion and use his name if appropriate to draw him back into the discussion. Your verbal learner will also probably be the first hand in the air when you ask a question if she knows the answer or not.
- A verbal learner will ask you lots of questions. Since verbal learners learn best by talking, it is easy to understand that they are going to ask you lots of questions to help figure out what you are talking about. If you have a verbal learner in your group you can head some of these questioning behaviors off by engaging your verbal learner with questions of your own. My verbal learner loves to ask questions so at home we turn those around and ask her questions to help her process and arrive at conclusions on her own.
- A verbal learner will likely be the first to volunteer for group exercises. Putting a verbal learner in a group will be thrilling for them. They may not take the lead in group dynamics but they will relish being in a group and having the ability to express their opinions. Small group activities will help verbal learners engage peer to peer and have a voice in what is happening. Just make sure all your verbal learners aren’t in the same group and you should be good to go.
- A verbal learner (mostly) loves to read. Most verbal learners are excellent readers and thoroughly enjoy reading. Some prefer the spoken word to the written word but those who engage with books well many times are your verbal learners. My daughter is a voracious reader and, even at her young age, can quickly read and comprehend a book that would take me considerably longer.
Teaching a verbal learner is always a great job, but can also be a bit of a challenge. God created everyone unique and special and we need to celebrate each child for who God created them to be. Identify those verbal learners and help them experience each lesson in a way that will keep them engaged and ready to learn.
Tim Pollard teaches 3rd graders at Tulip Grove Baptist Church. He’s passionate about helping kids dig deep into Scripture, which he pursues through his daily work as leader of the Explore the Bible: Kids team. Tim lives with his wife and daughters in Mount Juliet, TN.