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This is part three of a three-part article.

Do you prefer need music playing as you work or drive?   Are your children distracting to others due to the noises they create when they are working on their schoolwork or playing?  Would your spouse rather make a phone call than write a letter?  If you answered yes to any of these, there is an auditory learner in your family.

When trying to spot an auditory learner, look for these “tells”. When an auditory learner is deep in thought, they will generally look down.  (As an auditory learner, I had to train myself to look at people when they speak.  The more intently I am listening, the more likely I am to look down-so that I can concentrate- as I listen.)  And whatever emotion they are feeling will be easily recognized by their tone of voice.  If given a choice of activities, they will often choose to listen to music, go somewhere to hear the birds, attend a concert.  Auditory learners will also enjoy taking time to sit and talk…and talk… and talk.  Often instructions need to be given verbally.  Even as adults, most auditory learners prefer to be talked through a new activity, rather than simply shown or handed a set of instructions.

Auditory learners enjoy speaking and listening, and will occasionally do both at pretty much the same time.  A room full of them can get pretty loud; if you breathe before the end of your thought, you may forfeit your chance to complete it!  They prefer to share news by making a phone call rather than through email or text.  They notice sounds all around them, and often are making some of their own. (I have a friend that says if she loses me in a store, she simply listens for the humming/whistling.)

When an auditory learner is angry, they will generally let you know with words.  Lots of them.  Sometimes everyone with whom they come in contact knows what is wrong.  When they are excited, they will squeal, yell, and share the news with everyone.  Over and over.  Teaching them tact and proper behavior is important so that grievances aren’t broadcast to everyone around them, and so that they let other people get a chance to speak too!  You can most effectively reward them by praising them vocally.  Better still, say something wonderful about them to a third party where they will overhear you.

Some of the most successful tools for teaching visual auditory learners include:

  • Books on CD
  • music
  • discussion
  • narration
  • memorization