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Learning styles & best practices


The term “learning styles” refers to the unique ways that individuals gain understandings.  An individual’s learning style is comprised of the factors that support them to process, comprehend, retain and relate to new knowledges and understandings.  For example, when learning how to make a pair of moccasins, some may understand best by listening to verbal instructions, while others will need to physically engage with the materials in order to understand how to put them together.

Every learner is different and their unique learning style is based on their prior knowledge, experiences, as well as cognitive, emotional, and environmental factors.  It’s also important to note that an individual’s learning style is not fixed.  It may adapt or change completely depending on the circumstance and environment.

Understanding learning styles, supports educators to build learning activities that best engage and celebrate their students based on their unique gifts and challenges.


Common Learning Styles:

In the field of Education, learning styles are used to group together common modes of understanding.  These groupings aren’t meant to be constrictive, as individual learners may have very mixed learning styles, sharing aspects of two or more categories.

Different learning styles include:

  • Visual (spatial):  This person learns best with the use of images, pictures, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical):  This person learns best with the use of music and sound,
  • Verbal (linguistic):  This person learns best with the use of both the spoken and written word.
  • Physical (kinesthetic):  This person learns best by using the physical motion of their body and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematic):  This person learns best by using reasoning, logic and systems.
  • Naturalist (land-based):  This person learns best by being on the land, making connections with the natural world.


Learning Style Inventories – Online Resources:

If you are interested in identifying your own learning styles and coming to a deeper understanding of how you learn, there are a number of learning style inventories available online.



Note: Not all online learning style inventories include exhaustive information of the complete array of learning styles that exist.  These online tools are meant to be fun and informative, not diagnostic.

Learning styles & best practices

Indigenous land-based education refers to the millennia of knowledges that have been produced between Indigenous peoples and their interdependent relationships with the land. These knowledges include deep scientific and spiritual understandings and connections to land, water, and star knowledges, and relationships with animal and plant relatives.

In the field of Indigenous land-based education, it is understood that knowledges are embedded within the landscapes of our traditional territories (including in urban spaces) and to connect with those knowledges, it’s important to activate and nurture our relationship with the land by putting our bodies on the land.

Indigenous languages are heavily steeped with Indigenous land-based knowledges.  When spoken, Indigenous languages activate relationships between people and land, including water and the sky-world.

Leaning Indigenous languages within Indigenous land-based education contexts support learners to come to deeper understandings of the languages they are learning by supporting them to be in active relationship with the land.

Examples of the critical role of Indigenous languages within Indigenous land-based education include:

  • Oral histories
  • Traditional storytelling
  • Place names
  • Traditional ecological knowledge

Sample lesson plans

Jeopardy Game

Lesson 1

Jeopardy is a widely known game show that features a quiz competition wherein contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in the of questions. This is a fantastic tool for beginner language learners and for assessment and evaluation. The game can be created according to specific learning outcomes.

Additionally, this activity captures the attention of all learning styles and can be adapted for learners K-12.


Jeopardy Game: PowerPoint Tutorial- “How to create an easy Jeopardy Game”. www.youtube.com (uploaded by Vivioux). Please note that there is a variety of tutorials to create the game electronically.

How to Make a Jeopardy Game on PowerPoint (with Pictures)

www.wikihow.com › … › Presentation Software › PowerPoint Games

 Example of questions and categories:

You can create the categories in any language you choose. You can ask questions in the language depending on the readiness of your learners. The example is in English to support beginner language learners. Categories may vary using times of day, days of the week, weather, etc.


Animals Seasons Colors Cardinal Directions
Bear Spring Red East
Eagle Winter Yellow North
Beaver Autumn Black West
Turtle Summer White South


Animals Seasons Colors Cardinal Directions
Awenen makwa? Ziigwan Miskwaa Aandi waabanong?
Awenen migizii? Biboon Ozaawa Aandi giiweden?
Awenen amik? Dagwaagin Makadewaa Aandi niingaabii’an?
Awenen mikinaak? Niibin Waabishkaa Aandi zhawan?

Variation: You can use pictures instead of words for beginner readers for questions/answers.

Hello, What’s Your Name? My name is….

Lesson 2

This activity can be played with learners from grades 3-12 and supports all learning styles.

The conversations can vary from a beginner to intermediate language learner.

Learners of all ages enjoy talking to friends on the phone (usually texting and this lesson could be adapted for older learners with cellphones) To begin, either collect old cellphones or have creative and have learners create their own out of cardboard.


  • Pair up students. You can use 2 sets of popsicle sticks that equal the amount of learners. Dividesticks in half and write corresponding number on each per the amount of learners. Teacher will call out number in the language (i.e.Bezhig – Aandi bezhig?) The learners with number one on their stick will join their partner.
  • Once partners are assembled learners will take turns calling each other as follows:


What is your name?

Where are you from?

Who is your clan?

Okay, see you later.

Partner 1 …ring, ring, ring…. Partner two
Boozhoo Boozhoo
Aaniin ezhnikaazoyan? Alice nindizhinikaz.
Aaniin wenjiiyan? Sakgeeng nindonjii
Awenen gidoodem? Makwa nindoodem

Gaawiin gegoo (I don’t have one)

Ahaaw, gigawaabamin apii Miigwech

As learners develop in language (talking/listening) dialogue can be increased and adapted to include new words and phrases.


Repetition is important in learning language; switch partners several times during this activity.

This is a good activity to do early in the school year as learners get to know each other.

Source: Word Racing: Games to Play at Language Camps (Patricia Ningewance)

Go Fish!

Lesson 3

This activity can be played with learners from grades K-12 and supports all learning styles and is good for reinforcing vocabulary. It takes a bit of time to prep but is well worth the time invested.

For nouns: Make sets of cards using pictures (i.e. animals, school supplies, food, etc.). This game can be played in pairs or small groups.


  • When it’s time to play, shuffle the cards and deal four cards to each player.
  • Put the rest of the deck in the middle. One starts by asking anyone in the group “Do you have ___________?” or any verb phrase being taught. For example “Gidayaawaa na ___________” if the student has it they hand it over and if they don’t they answer “Gaawiin” and player will pick a card from the deck. The person will turn to the left and say “Giinedam” (your turn).
  • The game is over when every person has run out of cards. The person with the most pair wins.

Variation: Remove one set from the playing deck. Write out the nouns in both English and Ojibwe to match the pictures. Place picture cards facing up in rows and columns and place word cards facing down in rows and columns. Each learner takes a turn picking up a card from the word cards. They will match the word card to the picture. The one with the most sets wins.

Source: Reclaiming Our Territory, Word by Word (Patricia Ningewance)

What do you hear….Listen (Bizendam)

Lesson 4

This activity can be played with learners from grades K-12 and supports all learning styles.

This game is good for reinforcing comprehension of animal nouns.


  • Everyone is sitting in a circle.
  • Each learner is assigned an animal noun.
  • One person is selected stand in the middle of the circle. That person will point to anyone in the circle. If that person in the circle is a duck, they will make the sound of a duck. The one standing will say “boozhoo shiishiip” and move onto to the next person and the next person will sound out their animal.
  • For animals that do not have distinctive sounds, the learner may act out the animal. If the person in the middle is incorrect, the one selected will say “gaawiin” and will go stand in the middle.

Variation: Substitute with bird nouns, farm animals, motorized objects such as cars, skidoos, blenders, etc. as learners expand knowledge of nouns.

It is suggested to have visuals and corresponding word written on the whiteboard to support learners.

Source: Reclaiming Our Territory, Word by Word (Patricia Ningewance)

Note to Educators:

Begin each lesson in a group and remind learners to not be shy to speak language. Assure them that our ancestors are very proud of them and their efforts. If they feel stuck, they can ask their ancestor to guide them in learning language.

Additionally, you may find that students will begin to ask you “how do you say this or that” it is important to stick to the lesson. Tell learner you will meet with them later to answer their questions. Giving more information is great but can be overwhelming to language learners. Learning a new language can be stressful and by making it a game will alleviate any stress and make it a fun experience. Children learn best in a relaxed atmosphere and through play they will perfect pronunciation and reading skills. They also benefit from interacting and communicating in a relaxed atmosphere.