3 factors make the biggest impact on how primary students learn

Mar 7, 2019Blog, issues in teaching, teaching aids, teaching primary school0 comments

For a teacher, to find the answer to the question “how to teach”, initially, s/he needs to understand how students learn. In short, we have 3 factors that make the most significant impact on how primary students learn. They are learning styles, teaching styles and also the subjects. In this article, we will show you clearly the influence of each factor on the way children approach learning.


Learning styles affect how students prefer to learn

The first-factor impacts children in education are their learning styles. In this step, your task is finding how your students prefer to learn. Or in other words, you have to name the type of learners who your students are. From that, you can better implement the learning style into your lessons plan. And this is also a base for you to choose the most suitable teaching style for your learners.


Children’s learning is different from adults and each other

Typically, there are 3 types of learning style. First, we have visual learners (who prefer to learn with eyes). Likewise, the two left ones are auditory learners (who love learning by hearing) and kinesthetic learners (who learn through doing and touching). In recent years, researchers try to divide it more detailed for different types of learners, especially for primary students. Because the primary school is the most critical stage to build the learning path and form the future of learning career. The more specific learning styles are, the easier for teachers to understand their students. As a result, teachers can know how to drive children’s attention and effectively teach them.


7 different types of primary learners

There are various ways to define your students and name their learning styles. But yes, it will take a long time for you to do research and analysis without a theory or a guideline to follow. Here are 7 often-overlooked learning styles in primary school that we have collected for you. Thus, take a look and discover, you will find some interesting things about your children.

  • Visual (spatial) learners: Kids prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical) leaners: Kids prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic) learners: Kids prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic) learners: Kids prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical) learners: Kids prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal) learners: Kids prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal) learners: Kids prefer to learn alone and use self-study

In fact, a student can be both visual and social learner who has better performance when learning in a group.


After collating your students with our list above, maybe now you are confused because some of your children belong to more than one style. But don’t worry, as primary learning is complicated, there is always something weird happen. Be flexible with your kids, and try to uncover the reasons behind. Obviously, it’s best if you could find the reasons for yourself. However, you can follow some of our facts below, maybe they can help explain some parts for you.


Facts about primary students’ learning style

No student belongs to only one “single” learning style

Primary students tend to prefer learning styles that relate to each other. For example, if your student is a visual learner, you can observe that they tend to like learn in the group to interact with friends. And they also have a better performance when learning through videos, which combine both visual and sound than pure images.

A majority of students be attached to visual and aural learners

There is one thing that similar to adults, primary students also like learning most by seeing and hearing. Statistics show that 65% of the world’s population are visual learners. 30% of the left learn better by listening and only 5% are experiential learners. (Source: Statistics)

Students don’t learn better when they are taught according to one “single” style.

It doesn’t make sense when you teach everything by images just because your kid is a visual learner. There are some pieces of knowledge requires many different inputs to be transmitted to the students. Let’s take art as an example. When learning how to draw a picture, your students need to see the sample or imagine the subjects to draw in their minds. Besides, they listen to your voice and watch your instruction. They also need touch paint brushes to choose the suitable one and start to draw by hands. Apparently, if only use eyes, students can’t learn how to draw in a right and effective way.

To sum up, learning styles mention how students prefer to learn. However, it is just a basic but not a benchmark that you can base on to decide immediately how to teach. To become a good teacher, you should understand how teaching styles impact students’ learning either. That is also what we are going to talk about now. 

Visual aids in Primary Education:
from understanding to applying

A 37-page eBook for primary teachers including:

- How to better understand primary students' learning 

- Tips to choosing the right teaching aids 

- Ultimate guide to design effective visual aids for teaching


Teaching styles influence how students approach knowledge

As students who learn in different ways, every teacher has his/her own style of teaching. However, the expectation from parents and the school itself impact on teachers. As a result, more and more teacher is changing and upgrading their approach depending on their students’ learning needs.


5 fundamental teaching styles that most teachers tend to use

There are a lot of types of teaching nowadays. The most common types are used in education are in the table below. The table highlights:

  • The main strategies that each type of teacher use
  • Students’ traits for each teaching style
  • The subject that teachers usually apply the teaching style


Teaching Style
Students’ traits
1. The Authority, or lecture style

– Teacher-centered style

– Frequently entails lengthy lecture sessions or one-way presentations.

– Students are expected to take notes or absorb information, no interaction with teachers

– Suit for higher education and mature students than children.

– Large group of students

Subjects like History, which necessitate memorization of key facts, dates, names, etc
2. The Demonstrator, or coach style

– Like the lecture style: show what students need to know

– Use multimedia presentations, activities, and demonstrations

– Small number of students

– Hard to accommodate students’ individual needs in larger classrooms.

– Subjects that require logical thinkings as Math

– Subjects as Music, Physical education, or Arts and crafts

3. The Facilitator, or activity style

– Trains students to ask questions, promote self-learning

– Help students develop critical thinking skills and retain knowledge that leads to self-actualization.

Both K-12 and higher learners. Subjects that need learn through discovery and exploration as Science
4. The Delegator, or group style

– Teacher inspires students by working in tandem toward common goals

– Guide discovery and inquiry-based learning

– The teacher acts more as a consultant rather than the traditional authority figure.

Most important for primary students who love learning through exploring and interacting.

– Subjects that require lab activities, such as chemistry and  biology

– Subjects that warrant peer feedback, like debate and creative writing

5. The Hybrid, or blended style

– Integrated approach that blends the teacher’s personality and interests with students’ needs

– Enable teachers to tailor their styles to student needs and appropriate subject matter.

Risk to be many things to all students. Every kind of subjects, from Math and Science to English and History


For example, the animated video below is a typical tool that coach teachers use in a Math class. And you see, animation, in this case, helps the teacher to simplify the question and make the calculation easy to understand. Even more, students can grasp knowledge just by watching the explainer video. Or we can say that teachers are training students to learn by themselves. That’s how coach style teaching is!


Facts about teaching styles

Choosing teaching style is hugely affected by the characteristics of each subject

As you can see from the table, each teaching style is best used for different kind of subjects. Based on the characteristics of each subject, teachers can opt for a suitable teaching method. Let’s take music as an example. A teacher can’t teach music with authority style. How can students understand music just by one-way explaining of the teachers? How can students know to play the instrument by taking notes? The answer seems to be impossible

Teaching styles are turning to be more student-focused to work well in diverse classrooms

Teachers’ mission is changing more from transmitting knowledge to inspiring students and be a facilitator for students. In a class, there are always have both gifted and slow-learning children. That’s why teachers should be more student-focused to support every child and make them interested in learning as others.

Modern teachers are more of a hybrid approach

Today’s ideal teaching style is not a single and unique type. In addition, a modern teacher follows more of a hybrid approach that blends the best of everything a teacher has to offer. For example, by breaking the traditional lecture style, teachers can try to integrate technology in teaching subjects like History. There are also more and more activities in a History class as working in a group, creating school plays or storytelling competition.

Now what you got in your hands are teaching styles and learnings style. In the last, we will find out how subjects are on the top “3 factors make the biggest impact on how primary students learn”.


Subjects impact the level of engagements that students spend on learning

We have mentioned the subject’s role in learning in two previous part. And now, it’s time to talk more about subjects. In general, subjects effect how students pay attention and engagement for learning. There are some basic rules about how subjects impact the way students learn.


General rules of subject-appropriate learning

  • Most children are more willing to learn with subjects that fun, lively.
  • If students feel curious about the subjects, they are more engaged and active in learning (because children learn through exploring the world)
  • With dry or difficult subjects, children prefer to learn with activities (because they love learning through interacting and experience)


Check out this article to understand more how primary student learn:
» Do you know how primary students learn? 


More specific rules for what you are teaching


Subjects with fact, chart, and numbers (Math, Science, Geography)

These subjects require students with a high level of logical thinking and practical experiences. Because there are too much fact, chart and numbers, children will be over-whelming when learning. As a result, children lost their interest and engagement in this kind of subjects.

That’s why they most prefer to learn with fun. Teachers can add effective fun elements as visuals, graphs, or animations with vibrant color to explain the subject in a new engaged and informative way.


Arts and music

Arts and music relate most to the talents of the kid. It’s lucky if your students have artist vibes and inspiration for arts. However, some kids usually scare that their artworks will be terrible and they force themselves to hate arts.

Thus, if the teachers can show that arts and music are parts in daily life, students will love it more. Make them feel that arts and music can inspire people, raise people mood and kick-off the creativity. Becoming children’s friends and sharing with them every-moment with arts instead of teaching them, you will see how more engaged they are in the lesson.


Foreign language

Learning a foreign language has a sense of discovery, that is 1 of 2 most important things that affect the natural learning theory of primary students. Learning a new language opens a door for students to learn about another culture. Most students are really engaged in language because they can learn and explore more about the world.

Nevertheless, some primary students are not active in the language class. In this case, group working can be a good way for students to join together and contribute their part. They also can interact with others, learn from who is better, break the complexity and improve their ability.


ICT (Information and communication technology)

Relating to technology, we should talk about innovation and integration. Do you think children love technology? The answer is yes. We can see from the reality that now, each day, children spent an average 1-2 hours using tablets, smartphones or even laptop of parents to watch videos or play games.  

Contrary to students’ interest in technology, students don’t like ICT much because this subject is difficult to follow and lack of enjoyment. Recording the computer screen isn’t enough to engage students. Making the recording video exciting as games with vivid graphs, visuals or animated videos can be an effective way for teachers.  




Understanding how students learn and what is impactful with children’s learning mechanism is very important in teaching. Because after choosing the right method, the teacher needs to find a medium/aid that is supportive of education. Have you ever noticed about the power of visual in teaching and learning? Perhaps you heard about it before, but you might don’t understand why. Check out our next article and uncover why visual is amongst the most impactful means of learning. Well, then you will be able to choose the right visual aids for your in-class teaching!


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