Over the break I began researching my goal for this term, which has been to motivate students by immersing them into their subjects, texts and lessons. I wanted to facilitate excitement about their learning by marrying their completion of tasks and their experiences of text.
The multisensory approach has always been useful to me when teaching primary classes so I began to look into the possible outcomes of following this through in the secondary level.
Multisensory Learning: Improved Literacy by Engaging the Senses by Lawrence Baines explains the need for this approach, the success it can have.
He also details practical applications and lesson plans for each of the senses.
I have noticed that the students already have a more positive attitude to classes and are engaged for longer periods of time.
They are more curious about what they are learning, some read ahead before lessons to try and guess what might happen in the coming classes.
Our discussions are richer and the student’s recall of events, quotes and key ideas has improved.
The only drawback of this approach is its dependence on the content being taught. For example, I have a class currently studying persuasive language, which means that I utilise sight and sound more often than touch, smell and taste.
It also requires teachers to be organised and think of engaging approaches and materials ahead of time.
The most successful approaches I have used so far are by engaging:
– Touch, when the students touched “desert sand” and rocks, during our study of A Long Walk to Water.
– Sight, such as when whiteboard was used as a desert background, or when the classroom was plunged into darkness to make a “cave”.
– Sound, which has been used for ambience when reading or during creative writing sessions, to simulate footsteps trudging through the desert with vultures circling overhead, or the sound birds coming out after a long winter.
– Taste/smell, such as when the students were invited to taste some tea during the study of chapter 2 of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, where Lucy has tea with Mr. Tumnus. I would not use these experiences for reward purposes.