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What is Your Child’s Learning Style?
I remember watching math word problems when I was a kid, and I didn’t feel like it made any sense. My dad, who was good at math, couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get it. So secretly I would draw pictures of the problem and “voila, I got it!” Later I learned that I learned visually and needed to “see” the problem to understand.
Some children are talkative. In order to process information, these learners like to discuss it with others. After hearing the words, they usually understand and remember the information. We call them audio learners.
Another group learns while being active and playing games. If they can manipulate objects with their hands, they are able to understand the concept and it becomes embedded in their long-term memory.
There are many ways for professionals to categorize different learning styles and the process can be complex. However, the most widely used system divides all learning styles into three basic categories: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners.
Why do we need to know our child’s learning style?
When we realize there are differences in the way children learn, we won’t try to force them to learn the way we do. Think how much easier homework would be if parents could help, using techniques that work best for their child. If my father had known that I was a visual learner, he could have shown me how to draw pictures of the problem or make a visual graph to help me understand. I would have thought drawing pictures was an accepted way of learning instead of being secretive about it.
Often children feel at fault if they cannot grasp a problem when it is explained verbally. The child who needs hands-on activities is frustrated and cannot sit still for long essays. Their behavior is then labeled as unacceptable, and a different learning style becomes a discipline problem. Kinesthetic learners struggle to conform to our expectations.
Think of the difference it could make if you told the teacher about your child’s learning style at the start of the year. Many teachers don’t have time to analyze each child’s style. They usually teach according to their own particular learning style.
Children who have learned to recognize and understand their own learning styles are most likely to succeed. They can use techniques that work specifically for them. I know a child who had struggled throughout school. She eventually arrived at college and was overwhelmed by college instructors who demanded copious note taking. It was not his learning style. She needed to hear the information again and again. She realized this and used a tape recorder to read the information while she repeated much of it aloud. As an audio learner, this was his successful learning method.
Children may use a mix of learning styles or be dominant in one. A child with diverse learning styles is generally a more flexible learner. Read about the characteristics of each learning style. See if you can recognize your own child’s style(s) from the following descriptions
Characteristics of visual learners (65% of the population):
- Learn through pictures
- Love art and drawing
- Read maps, charts and diagrams carefully
- Love mazes and puzzles
- Use lists or diagrams to organize your thoughts
- Is able to spot recurring patterns in information
- Remembers the location of information on a page
- Sees pictures or words in the “mind’s eye”
- Is able to visualize stories
- Often good spelling (they can see the word in their mind)
- Has an overflowing imagination
- Gets impatient or walks away when deep listening is required
- Color is important and helps memory
- like to put things together
- Generally like reading/writing better than math/science
- Doodling Adept
- Likes to trace words and pictures
- Often accused of being a dreamer in class
How can I help my Visual Learner?
Since mathematics is abstract, it is important to draw or explain with diagrams.
Encourage and teach your child to draw pictures to understand math problems. Usually, visual children are very creative and are able to find a good memory technique to remember vocabulary or mathematical procedures. They just need to know it’s an acceptable method.
When reading, suggest visual cues. Offer picture books of all kinds; when reading chapters together, encourage viewing the story and scenes at regular intervals. Provide colored pens for note taking or writing. Suggest writing the syllables of new spelling or vocabulary words in different colors. Help them make lists or outlines of information. Suggest drawing a picture of historical information to remember.
Characteristics of auditory learners (30% of the population):
- Tends to remember and repeat ideas presented verbally
- Learns well through lectures
- Is an excellent listener
- Is often the moderator of a group discussion
- Can reproduce symbols, letters or words by hearing them
- like to talk
- Like plays, movies
- Can learn concepts by listening to tapes
- love the music
- Enjoy Q&A sessions
- Retains rhymed information
- Find the small group discussions stimulating and informative
- Must hear information spoken out loud
How can I help my audio learner?
These children learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, deep discussions, and listening to what others have to say. Discuss homework with your child and ask him or her to explain it to you. This reinforces learning. Audio learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder.
Read math problems together and break a word problem down into smaller segments. Discuss what this means and talk about possible solutions. Why would it work or not work? The audio learner needs this type of dialogue.
In each subject, it is necessary to listen to your child read the information aloud and then discuss it. It may seem time-consuming to a parent, but it’s the best way for the audio learner to succeed. Moreover, it creates a closer relationship. Audio learners do not work well on their own.
Audio learners absorb information like a sponge. They can listen to a stimulating educational video and retain most of the information, especially if there is a discussion afterwards. If there is information that needs to be memorized, put it in rhyme or music. Have fun!
Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learners (5% of the population):
- Learn by doing, direct involvement
- Frequently fidgets or finds reasons to move
- Is not very attentive to visual or auditory presentations
- wants to “do” something
- try things
- like to manipulate objects
- Gestures while speaking
- Is often a bad listener
- Responds to music through physical movement
- Love to clap rhymes
- Uses hand movements when speaking words
- Often successful in physical response activities
Kinesthetic/tactile children learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. Touching objects, trying them out, and moving their bodies are all ways that kinesthetic children learn. They may struggle to sit still for long periods of time and are often distracted by their need for activity and exploration. These students have high energy levels. They think and learn better by moving. They often lose much of what is said during a lecture and have trouble concentrating when asked to sit down and read. These students prefer doing rather than watching or listening. Are often diagnosed as ADHD
How can I help my kinesthetic/tactile learner?
These learners need a lot of objects to work with and manipulate. Physical objects are essential, especially for mathematics. There is plenty of practical material available in teaching stores and many teachers are happy to lend some of their teaching material to parents. For example, if you are helping your child tell the time, get an old clock and let him move the hands while you explain the idea.
Reading, spelling and writing are often difficult for these children. Buy letters and have the child spell words using something they can touch and feel. Sometimes using the computer is beneficial as they move the keys around. Computer math games work well too.
Clicking syllables while reading words helps kinesthetic learners pronounce the word phonetically. If they forget punctuation at the end of a sentence, suggest hand signals like a clenched fist for a period, an outstretched arm for an exclamation mark, and a bowed hand with an outstretched arm for a period. questioning. By using the body, the information is internalized.
Use games to reinforce learning. For additions and subtractions, play dominoes or card games. Write unknown words on small cards and play “Go fish” or “Concentration” to help with reading.
All children benefit
Knowing your child’s learning style is important! When you are able to help your child in a way that they can respond positively, you are setting a good tone for learning. Self-esteem increases. Your child is much happier because he feels accepted for who he is. They don’t have to learn like the others. They have special abilities. They are unique!
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