At Symbols, we believe that multi-sensory learning is the best way to get children to learn. During the intake assessment, which is done in the first four lessons, one of the first things the tutors are required to teach the student is the concept of VAKT (Visual/Auditory/Tactile/Kinesthetic), and the four learning pathways. While all four pathways are consistently used, it is also important to know which way the student learns best.
Tutors usually begin by asking the student which pathway they think helps them BEST learn in school… the student usually says their eyes or ears. This can be a telling sign of whether they rely on visual or auditory learning more. The tutors also run a bunch of tasks and questions during the assessment that gives clue to how the student receives information best. For instance, there may be a task where the tutor asks their student to cut out things. If the student repeats the instructions back to you and says something like “cut off” instead of “cut out”, you can tell that they don’t place a strong emphasis on auditory learning. Or, if they have trouble following instructions at first, and have to watch their tutor do the task, then this gives clues that they are more of a visual learner. Another possibility is that they may have to do it themselves, and have to first make a mistake in order to learn how to do it properly, in which case you can tell that they are more of a tactile learner.
Our tutors try to employ all the senses when they start working with a new student, because it’s actually easier to find out what they are NOT a strong/preferred learner in, rather than which category they learn best in. It’s not always super clear-cut in the beginning. In some cases, it is very obvious, such as when a student achieves success in learning through a mnemonic (auditory) or visual cue (visual) or ball toss (kinesthetics). Most of the time, however, it is not as obvious. Hence, the tutors must try and engage all the senses to ensure the student retains the knowledge and understands what is being taught.
Tutors are always changing up what they want to focus on based on the specific student’s needs, which is why it is important that each lesson is 1-to-1, in order for this individualization to occur. This is what makes tutoring engaging and student-centric. Our tutors want to make sure that they can be flexible and help students pick up the necessary skills using various methods to get through to them. So, if it is discovered that there is an area (VAKT) where a student is weaker, more of the other senses can be used. That being said, every single lesson will involve each of the VAKT in some form, as this is a core concept at Symbols.
The visual and auditory methods are employed most during lessons. This is because these two methods are what they have to work on in order to succeed in school. Tutors will often try to pair, for an example, an auditory activity with a kinesthetic activity, or a visual activity with a tactile one. This is in order to strengthen the VA with the help of one of the KT. Since a student may not always have the option of doing activities such as tracing materials or ball tosses at school, it’s what makes our work at Symbols special and beneficial.