Multi-Sensory Teaching

eyes

Visual – Sight

hear

Auditory – Hearing

touch

Tactile – Touch

feel

Kinetic – Movement

The development of the senses in a child precedes that of his intellectual development. The period between the ages of 3-7 years is marked by rapid physical growth and development of awareness of the senses. The learner is therefore attracted more by stimuli than by reason.

During this period he should therefore be methodically exposed to stimuli that will develop the learner’s senses rationally and thus lay the foundation for his mental powers.

Using a multi sensory approach means helping a child to learn through more than one of the senses.

Most teaching in madrasah’s is done predominantly via 2 senses only, hearing or sight in a very limited stereotyped method.The sense of hearing is used in listening to what the Muallim says, whilst the sense of sight is used in black and white text or limited information on the chalkboard. This traditional education system often leaves the young, enthusiastic learner bored, frustrated and misunderstood, ultimately creating an unhealthy and dismal learning environment which stifles the learner and educator.

Effective education is the utilization of of such teaching methods that will develop the learners ability to become aware of and employ both right and left sides of the brain (lateral brain integration) to become integrated, creative thinkers, with both ears, eyes and both sides of the body switched on. In order to spark this creativity, the learner needs to be stimulated by multi-sensory teaching methods.

The answer is to help a child learn through the maximum use of sight and hearing. Thereafter to add more of the child’s senses, especially the use of touch and movement to the learning experience, thereby stimulating all four memory types simultaneously, in an atmosphere of love, tolerance and understanding.

By combining within the lesson all these 4 memory types (visual-sight, auditory-hearing, kinetic-movement, tactile-touch), in essence, a multi sensory experience is achieved by using other areas of the brain, thereby  establishing much more clearer and deeper  memories of letters and words in the lesson, that would have otherwise been  difficult to remember. The connection and co-operation of all 4 senses with the intellect of the learner ensures the letters to be fixed much more deeper and quicker into the memory. Every lesson thus becomes a joyful opportunity to develop the spontaneous creativity within each learner to its full potential.

The most amazing result of multi-sensory learning is that the potentialities of both the faculty of reason and as well as the faculty of the senses are simultaneouly developed and improved.

1

Understanding the power of stimulating the sight by using full-colour books in learning and teaching

Learning materials should be colourful attractive enough to intrigue the curiosity and wilfully invite the child.

Brightness and proportion are sought in everything that surrounds a child. Learning material should attract a child just as in nature coloured blossoms attract the insects to drink the nectar which they conceal.

The ultimate purpose of the ability of the material to attract the child, is to afford the learner the opportunity to wilfully and of his own accord want to interact with the learning material. Without wilful attraction and inter-action, the interest is superficial and without purpose.

When this level of inter-action is found whereby the child wilfully focuses on the activity, his senses perceptions will be perfected, allowing him to analyse and solve problems. It will also teach a child to concentrate in a way that no verbal instruction could ever do.

This irresistible impulse which unites the child with the material, then develops into love. This spiritual energy for his Kitaab ultimately develops into love for qur’aan,  Allah and ultimately, his deen.

2

Understanding the power of Sound in learning and teaching

In order to read, a child needs to:

  • Recognise the sound of every letter correctly.
  • Develop fluency in joining single sounds together correctly (blending).

The logic of all languages is built on the understanding that every word is made up of a sequence of elementary sounds/ phonemes. It is the phonemes that are represented by the letters. A failure to notice that spoken words can be broken down into phonemes is a major cause of reading disability.

Developing adequate awareness of phonemes is not dependent on intelligence but can effectively be fostered through instruction. Thereafter application and repetition of instruction via multi sensory material (audio cd) allows reading to become fluent and effortless.

Inability to recognise the correct letter or instruction that is inadequate (without the use of an audio learning aid) is a major contribution to reading failure.

3

The power of the sense of touch and movement in learning and teaching

4

The Steriognostic sense

By sense of touch, only roughness or smoothness of a surface is perceived -known as a tactile sensation.  When the hand and arm are moved about an object, a muscular sensation is also experienced (fine and gross motor skills).

So when we touch something as we move, two sensations, tactile and muscular are mixed together and give rise to the stereognostic sense, thus giving greater exactness to the perception on an object. The blind fold activity with the sandpaper alphabets is a perfect activity to enhance the stereognostic sense.

By combining this with the maximum use of full-colour and audio, a unique and amazing multi-sensory experience is now achieved.