Learning Styles in Small Groups

Jennifer Stow is currently living in central China with her husband and 11-year-old daughter. She knows just enough Mandarin to order dumplings or catch a cab! Before moving to China, she and her family have lived in Dallas, San Diego, and then just north of Atlanta. Jennifer holds a Masters Degree in Education, has taught a variety of things from Kindergarten in Texas to College in China, and is always looking for ways to engage students in a meaningful discussion. In addition to teaching, Jennifer has also been a Preschool Director and Curriculum Coordinator at a church and currently consults for the 252 Basics team at Orange. She hates yes/no questions, loves new school supplies, and is a curriculum junkie!


Would you rather chat online or chat in person?


Would you rather role-play or write a story?


Would you rather create a poster or sing a song?


During your ministry hour, you might sometimes wonder, “This group isn’t embracing the activity like that group over there.” Or you may be confused that 2 kids in one group are so happy and engaged and another kid won’t participate at all.


We all have ways that we prefer to learn. Being aware of this will help every SGL engage each kid in their group.


Teach.com lists a well-known way to categorize learning styles. Listed here is a simplified way to begin thinking about how you learn (which will affect how you lead a small group) and how your kids learn.


  • Visual: You like to see images and graphs when you process new information. You would benefit from a diagram when presented with a new concept.
  • Auditory: You prefer music and sound. You might talk through your first thoughts on a subject as you process new information. You like to hear and speak words.
  • Read and Write: You like to read and write words! Do you write, write, and rewrite your thoughts, maybe in a journal or on a blog?
  • Kinesthetic: You like to use your hands and move around. You like projects and hands-on activities.


It is important to also consider whether your kids are social or solitary learners.

  • Solitary learners prefer to work alone when processing new information.
  • Social learners enjoy processing with a partner or a group.


If your SGLs have had the same group of kids over a period of time, give them a glance at this list. I bet light bulbs will go off for them. “Wow! That’s why Suzy loved designing a big map of the world in Small Group,” or “yep, that’s why Johnny comes alive with ideas when I give everyone some time to think on their own before we share our thoughts!”


At 252, our writers work hard to provide activities that hit multiple learning styles every week. And there are ways that you and your Small Group Leaders can begin to think on your feet to meet the learning styles of your kids, right there in the moment!


Stay tuned to this blog to learn practical ways to engage each learner in your group, especially when one kid wants to write and perform a rap about Joseph and his brothers, and another one wants to spend the whole hour meticulously drawing a picture of the story with infinite details! And a third kid won’t stop rolling around on the floor because he doesn’t want to do either!


Every child who comes to our environments deserves an opportunity to interact with God and others in a way that speaks his or her language.


We are committed to helping you lead in a way that does just that!


The organization and framework of learning styles are adapted from the Vark® modalities of learning, ©Copyright Version 7.1 (2011) held by Neil D. Fleming, Christchurch, New Zealand. 

To learn more about learning styles and to take a questionnaire to find out which learning styles fit you best, head tohttps://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/

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