Written by Andrea Knox, former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development & Resiliency Field Specialist.
Successful club meetings are interactive engaging youth through meaningful learning experiences. Three general areas for a 90 minute period include 15 to 20 minutes be spent on “Business,” 40 to 45 minutes on ”Education,” and 20 to 25 minutes on “Recreation.” Previously, we discussed the short “Business” portion, now it’s time to focus on the “Education” section.
As stated in the 4-H Club Management Guide, “The ‘Education’ section of the meeting provides the members the opportunity to share what they are learning through public presentations (demonstration, illustrated talk, public speaking, or project why) or a hands-on experiment. Additionally, it is the perfect time to work together on a new project, take a tour, or invite a special speaker in to share or teach. The club plan provides program priorities to help keep the group on track as they work together to explore new things they identified of interest to them in the planning process. Children and adults have preferred learning styles. By mixing up the teaching tools used, it is possible to keep everyone both engaged AND having fun while they learn new things.”
Let’s take a closer look at learning styles and how we can mix them up! There are three major learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic/tactile. The 4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet: Learning Styles defines the learning styles below.
Visual learners are those who rely most on sight. They tend to prefer seeing things written down and often use pictures, maps, graphs, charts, and other visual learning tools. They remember things best by seeing something written and like handouts and other written mediums. Visual learners often have a good sense of direction and can often be observed doodling or drawing.
Auditory learners are those who generally learn best by listening. They prefer demonstrations, videos, lectures, discussions, and reading aloud. Auditory learners remember best through hearing or saying items aloud and can be observed reading out loud to themselves.
Kinesthetic / Tactile Learners
Kinesthetic or tactile learners are those who learn best through touching, feeling, and experiencing that which they are trying to learn. They remember best by writing or physically manipulating the information. Kinesthetic learners prefer role plays, experiments, simulations and other hands-on activities. [Ideas for situations: Building a bird feeder, learning about animal diseases, types of fish, making a nutritious menu, taking a picture, working with a robot, grooming a dog, writing a skit, singing a song, defining electricity terms, planning a club field trip, etc.].
When planning the meeting it is important to include activities that meet all three learning styles. You may find a majority of your members are kinesthetic/tactile learners and can adjust the activities to maximize learning potential. Yet, a mix of learning styles is good since it not only gives the opportunity to learn using a preferred style, but to experience the other styles as well.