“Tell me and I’ll forget,
Show me and I may remember,
Involve me and I’ll understand.”
Many of our most vivid memories are built around the combination of multiple senses: the smell of a particular meal at our home when we were growing up, the texture or the pages of a book we read and loved, or even the song that played during our first slow dance. Our senses can strengthen and deepen experiences that ultimately enhance future learning. Multi-sensory instruction (learning by doing) targets the learning styles of every type of student, including those with learning and attention issues. By providing multi-sensory instruction, children are able make connections and learn concepts by activating prior experiences.
Dr. Samuel Terry Orton, one of the first to recognize the syndrome of dyslexia in students, suggested that “teaching the fundamentals of phonic association with letter forms, both visually presented and reproduced in writing, would benefit students of all ages.”
Children learn in different ways.
Some are visual learners, meaning they have to use a drawing or graph to master a concept. Auditory learners can understand concepts by listening to an explanation. Some students are excellent at tracking information with their eyes and prefer to watch a play, while other students learn best by physically acting out a play.
Deeper Learning and Retention
Multi-sensory instruction teaches to more than one sense at a time, allowing for many areas of the brain to be activated at one time. Experts believe that students remember what they learn while using multiple senses more effectively than while using one sense. “According to research, neuroimaging studies have shown that there is a greater amount of activity in the brain's information processing areas following a multi-sensory input than there is following a single sense input (Willis, p. 111).”
Students are more involved in learning.
Children who are easily distracted are more attentive when multi-sensory instruction techniques are utilized. If a child is engaged tactically or physically while listening to instructions and seeing information, there is not much of an opportunity for the student’s attention to stray.