Overcoming Obstacles

Lesson 1: Identifying Your Learning Style


  • Students will recognize that there are a variety of learning styles.

  • Students will identify their own preferred learning styles.

  • Students will practice using their primary learning styles to master new content.


  • One copy of the “Learning Styles Profile” activity sheet for each student (Part I)

  • One copy of the “Learning Styles Summary” activity sheet for each student (Part I)

  • One copy of the “Project Assignment” activity sheet for each group of four to five students (Part III)

Starter (3 minutes)

Write on the board the names of famous people from different fields who have/had considerable talent (e.g., Albert Einstein, Duke Ellington, Toni Morrison, Vincent Van Gogh, Babe Ruth, Mahatma Gandhi).

Ask students who they think is/was the smartest. Why do they think that? Lead students to recognize that it is difficult to assess who on that list is/was the smartest, because each has/had great talent in a different area. Explain that there are many different ways of learning and that different people excel in different areas. This lesson will help students identify their own learning styles.

Tell students that each individual on the list excelled in one of the following areas:

  • Logical-mathematical (math)
  • Musical (music and rhythm)
  • Linguistic (language)
  • Spatial (visual)
  • Bodily-kinesthetic (athletic, body)
  • Interpersonal (people)
  • Intrapersonal (emotional)

Explain that each area of learning is different and requires a different set of skills and capacities.

Part I: How Do I Learn? (15 minutes)

Purpose: Students recognize the importance of identifying their own preferred learning styles, and complete an inventory to help them do so.

1. Students recognize the importance of identifying their own learning styles.

Ask students to explain why identifying their own learning styles might be useful. Lead students to recognize that identifying their learning styles will enable them to develop study practices that will help them learn more effectively. This awareness will also help students to plan projects and respond to assignments by capitalizing on their learning strengths.

2. Students complete an inventory that assesses different learning styles.

Distribute a copy of the “Learning Styles Profile” activity sheet to each student. Tell students they will have 10 minutes to complete the profile.

When students are finished, distribute the “Learning Styles Summary” activity sheet. Have students write their responses to each question in the spaces provided and then total their responses to each type of question.

Part II: What Do We Do Best? (10 minutes)

Purpose: Students identify study methods that capitalize on their preferred learning styles.

1. Students group themselves according to their learning styles.

Instruct students to organize themselves into groups according to their preferred learning style (the style with the highest response on their summary sheets). If students have two styles with equal scores, suggest that they choose the one they feel is their strongest area. Divide large groups as needed.

2. Students brainstorm study methods that capitalize on their learning styles.

Instruct groups to brainstorm study methods that capitalize on their preferred learning styles and that will help them learn material as they prepare for tests. Encourage students to design specific activities, such as the following:

  • Use string to create models of geometrical figures (visual/artistic/spatial).
  • Conduct a role play of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (verbal/linguistic).
  • Organize a study group to review the main ideas in Hamlet. Have each student in the group focus on a different part of the play. Have each student present their findings to the group (social/interpersonal).

3. Groups share the results of their discussions.

Invite the groups to share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Encourage the class to offer suggestions for each group’s list.

Part III: Putting It All Together (20 minutes)

Purpose: Students work with others who have learning styles different from their own.

1. Students develop an outline for a project.

Instruct students in each group to count off. Then, have students regroup according to their number (i.e., all the ones in one group, the twos in another, and so on).

Distribute the “Project Assignment” activity sheet to each group. Explain that each group must create a plan for a presentation about one of the key events that preceded the Revolutionary War (or another assignment of your choosing).

Instruct each group to develop a plan for the project that incorporates the preferred learning styles of all its members. Remind students to assign initial tasks for each learning style (such as interviewing subjects, library research, or obtaining supplies), as well as to assign appropriate roles for the final presentation.

Allow students 10 minutes to complete this task.

2. Students present their project plans to the class.

Invite each group to present its plans to the class. Have the groups identify who would be responsible for each task and the reasons for assigning the roles as they did.

Conclusion (2 minutes)

Ask students why it is important to recognize their own preferred learning styles. Elicit from students the following key points that were taught in this lesson:

  • There are many different ways of learning.
  • Identifying our own preferred learning styles enables us to develop study practices that will help us learn more effectively.

Student Assessment

  1. Which learning style (or styles) best suits you? Why?
  2. List three professions that are well-suited for people with your learning style.
  3. When working with others, would it be helpful to know their learning styles? Why or why not?

Extensions for Lesson 1: Identifying Your Learning Style

Using Quotations


“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” —Will Rogers


Discuss how this quote applies to learning styles.

Addressing Multiple Learning Styles


Have students make a class chart that lists the names of students and the learning style each one prefers.

Have students create a pie chart showing the percentage of students in each category.

Writing in Your Journal


Have students write two paragraphs with the following starters: “I learn best when…” and “I have difficulty learning when…”

Have each student partner with someone else in the class who prefers a different learning style. Have students discuss their preferred learning styles with their partners and adapt their partners’ styles to fit their own needs.

Using Technology


Have students search the internet for software/gadgets that might complement their learning styles and aid them in their studies (e.g., Inspiration for spatial learners, the Livescribe pen for linguistic learners).

Have students report on their findings.



Have students give the learning styles quiz to an adult they admire. Have them interview this adult about learning experiences in an area of strength and in an area of weakness.

Have students write a paragraph or two summarizing what they learned. Discuss what students learned in class.

Additional Resources


Have students read Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Talkers, Watchers, and Doers: Unlocking Your Child’s Unique Learning Style by Cheri Fuller. Explain that this book presents a slightly different view of learning styles.

Tell students to reflect on the learning styles they preferred when they were younger, identifying if they were “talkers,” “watchers,” or “doers.” Have them adopt some of the techniques in the book to their own styles today.

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