The Language of Learning: The Aural Learner
Note: If you’re unsure as to what a learning language is, make sure to read our introductory blog all about the various styles (or as we like to call them, languages) of learning, and why they’re important!
- Do you find it hard to write notes because you’re afraid you’ll miss what the teacher says?
- Do you often hum, sing, or speak to yourself in class?
- Do you hate having to sit silently?
If yes, congratulations! You are probably an aural learner.
Think of an aural learner as “rhythmically aware”. This means that an aural learner takes in information through their hearing, and will store that information away based on the way that it sounds.
For example, an aural learner may remember that something was said “in a quickened excited tone”, or “explained very lyrically”.
Popular belief would indicate that an aural learner would be a teacher’s dream. In a traditional classroom, where the teacher stands at the front giving a lesson or presentation, an aural learner is able to connect easily with content.
They will find that they are easily engaged in class discussion, often asking questions, making observations, and taking in the highest amount of information from the class.
“Perfect!” I can hear you say. “They must literally be the absolute perfect student and get A’s in every subject!”
Yes, aural learners are very well suited to the typical classroom structure. In fact, you can just as easily say that they’re very well suited to our society’s structure. They are often outgoing, exciting people – the life of the party, the leader in their friendship circle, and friends with countless amounts of people.
However, when taken out of a communal environment, and placed in a solitary environment or circumstance, aural listeners are at high risk. Classroom dynamics do often focus on discussion and verbal teaching, but there are so many other elements that come into play as well.
The first is reading – whether it be textbooks, set class novels, or even the content on the board, aural learners may heavily struggle to make their way through the words in front of them.
“But shouldn’t they just read the words out loud, and that’ll make it easy for them?”
Kind of – but consider the way that books are written.
Let’s chat about textbooks first. A Mathematics textbook – let’s be honest – reads like a complicated guidance manual. Very often, worked examples will show the steps and formulas necessary, but very rarely the reasoning behind a certain step. This leaves huge gaps in understanding, especially if the process has not been explained to the aural listener verbally.
The same thing happens, then, when the aural listener goes into an exam and is required to sit in silence an hour or more, unable to vocally work through the problem in front of them or bounce off someone else.
Another important aspect to consider is the reading of set texts. In English classes, students are often – if not every term – expected to read through a novel, article, or poem (or multiples thereof!), and either write or present on it.
Analysing a text might be quite difficult for an aural learner. Sure, there will be discussion of the novel’s themes and ideas in class; but once it comes down to the aural learner doing it by themselves, the struggle begins.
They are less likely to have ideas besides what was discussed in class, or to accurately refer to the text through using quotes, because they are used to simply discussing the novel as a whole, rather than focus on specific details.
In fact, many aural learners I’ve encountered as an A Team Tuition tutor struggle to even sit still and read the text as a whole. Their understanding of the book, therefore, comes almost entirely from class discussion. In one of my previous blogs, I outlined why reading is one of the most important things a student must do. Struggling to do so sets a student incredibly far back.
Another element that aural listeners may struggle with, and perhaps the most important problem to tackle, is the issue of writing notes in class.
Aural listeners tend to focus quite intensely in class, listening actively and contributing constantly – but this intense focus and input may lead to them failing to make physical notes. Funnily enough, they don’t write notes because they are so highly focused on listening.
This sets them back mostly in their personal study time. When an aural listener is trying to prepare for a test, or practice written questions, they need something to connect back to. We all know that the human memory is all too often flawed, and students will find that they have gaps in knowledge of certain areas.
Because of this, aural listeners will often claim they “don’t remember what to do”, and need verbal prodding to get back to a certain point. When faced with large written questions, they will fade out of focus quickly.
So, by now I’m sure you’re convinced that an aural listener is not a so-called “perfect student”, and that they need just as much leading and compassionate input as any other learning language students do.
Thankfully, there are so many different options available for aural listeners. First of all, it is paramount that they sit close to the teacher, and work on taking in as much information as possible. They should focus on writing down their thoughts and understanding as soon as they finish a discussion or hear the teacher’s explanation.
Because their ability to listen and contribute to the class is quite high, aural listeners should also make a distinct point to stay in good relationship to their teacher, and constantly ask for help and verbal feedback. This will help them not only understand things better, but also to learn what their weaknesses are, and what areas they can focus on improving in.
Having a teacher explain it to them verbally in person will be far more impacting than reading it off a marked assessment or report card.
Aural listeners should also invest time in watching educational Youtube videos with verbal explanations or discussions in them, or listening to educational podcasts and audio recordings.
Study groups or partners are also a great idea for aural listeners. What is important is the type of groups or partner they choose. It is not wise, for example, to construct a study group made up simply of friends, especially if the group loses track easily and mucks around. Aural listeners should make a point of choosing wisely, and focusing on perhaps students with a different learning language, who are committed to the work, yet see it from a different perspective.
Finally, if an aural listener wants to develop themselves further, and truly understand how to best optimise their learning process according to their learning language, they should invest in a A Team Tuition tutor! A tutor is perfect for an aural listener, as tutoring sessions can be heavily discussion based.
Most importantly, a tutor will also have various activities and processes that will help an aural listener move past just discussing work, and into the tricky field of genuinely adapting their school work into something best suited to their learning language.
At the end of the day, an aural learner needs what every type of learner needs – to grow towards an understanding of themselves, and how they work best. Not only that, they have to move towards a celebration of their abilities – a celebration of who they are. Only then will they be confident enough to conquer the educational journey ahead of them.