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What is Your Child’s Learning Style?
I remember seeing math word problems as a kid and thinking none of it made any sense. My father, who is good at mathematics, doesn’t understand why I can’t pass the exam. So I would surreptitiously draw a picture of the problem and “Look, I get it!” I later learned that I was a visual learner and needed to “see” the problem in order to understand it.
Some children are very talkative. To process information, these learners enjoy discussions with others. When they hear the words, they understand and usually remember the information. We call them Audio Learners.
Another group learned while doing activities and playing games. If they can manipulate objects with their hands, they can understand the concept and incorporate it into their long-term memory.
Professionals can categorize different learning styles in many ways, 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 understand how children learn?
When we recognize that there are differences in the way children learn, we stop trying to force them to learn the way we do. Just imagine how much easier homework would be if parents could help, using techniques that work best for their child. If my dad knew I was a visual learner, he would be able to teach me how to draw pictures of problems or make visual diagrams to help me understand. I would feel that drawing is an accepted method of learning rather than keeping it a secret.
Children often feel that there is something wrong with them if they cannot understand the problem when it is explained verbally. Children who need their hands are frustrated by the tirade and can’t sit still. Their behavior is then deemed unacceptable and different learning styles become a matter of discipline. Kinesthetic learners have a hard time living up to our expectations.
Think about the difference you could make if you informed teachers at the beginning of the year about how your child is learning. Many teachers don’t have time to analyze each child’s style. They usually teach according to their own specific learning style.
Children who learn to recognize and understand how they learn are the most likely to succeed. They have access to technology designed to work for them. I know a kid who struggled throughout school. She finally went to college, but was overwhelmed by college teachers who demanded copious note-taking. This is not her learning style. She needs to hear these messages again and again. She realized this and played the message on a tape recorder while repeating most of it aloud. As an audio learner, this is how she learns successfully.
Children can mix learning styles or be dominant in one style. A child with a different learning style is often a more flexible learner. Read through the characteristics of each learning style.See if you can recognize your child’s style from the descriptions below
Characteristics of visual learners (65% of the population):
- learn from images
- likes art and drawing
- Read maps, charts, and diagrams well
- love mazes and puzzles
- use lists or outlines to organize thoughts
- Ability to spot repeating patterns in information
- Remember where the information is on the page
- Seeing pictures or words “in your head”
- able to imagine stories
- Usually a good speller (they can see the word in their head)
- have a rich imagination
- becoming impatient or distracted when a lot of listening is required
- Colors are important and help with memory
- like to put things together
- Usually prefers reading/writing over math/science
- like graffiti
- Like to describe words and pictures
- Often accused of daydreaming in class
How can I help my visual learners?
Since mathematics is abstract, it is important to draw pictures or explain with diagrams.
Encourage and teach your child how to draw pictures to understand math problems. Often visual children are very creative and can find great memory tricks for remembering math words or procedures. They just need to know that this is an acceptable approach.
In reading, visual cues are suggested. A variety of picture books are available; as you read chapter books together, encourage imagining stories and scenes from time to time. Colored pens are provided for note taking or writing. Suggest writing syllables of new spelling or vocabulary words in different colors. Help them make a list or outline of the information. It is recommended to draw a map of historical information that needs to be remembered.
Characteristics of auditory learners (30% of the population):
- Tendency to remember and repeat verbal thoughts
- learned well through lectures
- is a good listener
- Often the leader of group discussions
- Can reproduce symbols, letters or words by listening
- like to talk
- I like dramas and movies
- Concepts can be learned by listening to tapes
- love music
- love the Q&A
- Preserve information set to rhyme
- Find group discussions enlightening and informative
- Must Hear Yourself Say the Message Out Loud
How can I help my audio learners?
These children learn best through oral instruction, discussions, talking about things and listening to others. Discuss the homework with your child and have him or her explain it to you. This enhances learning. Audio learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder.
Read the math problems together and divide the word problems into smaller parts. Discuss what it means and discuss possible solutions. Why does this work or not work? Audio learners need this type of dialogue.
In each subject, listen to your child read information aloud followed by discussion. This may seem time consuming to parents, but is the best way for audio learners to succeed. Plus, it builds closer relationships. Audio learners can’t do well on their own.
Audio learners absorb information like a sponge. They can listen to stimulating educational videos and retain most of the information, especially if discussed afterwards. If there is information that must be remembered, put it in rhyme or music. Make it fun!
Characteristics of kinesthetic learners (5% of the population):
- Learn by doing, get involved directly
- Often restless or looking for reasons to move
- Not very attentive to visual or auditory presentations
- Want to do anything
- try it
- likes to manipulate objects
- hand gestures when speaking
- usually a poor listener
- Respond to music with body movements
- like clap rhyme
- use hand movements when pronouncing
- often succeeds in physical response activities
Kinesthetic/tactile children learn best through a hands-on approach where they actively explore the physical world around them. Touching things, trying them, and moving their bodies is how kinesthetic children learn. They may find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time and are often distracted by the need to move and explore. These students are full of energy. They think and learn best when they are on the move. They often forget much of what was said in lectures and have difficulty concentrating when asked to sit down and read. These students prefer to do rather than watch or listen.often diagnosed with ADHD
How can I help my kinesthetic/tactile learners?
These learners need a large number of objects to work and manipulate. Physical objects are essential, especially for mathematics. There are plenty of useful materials in the education store, and many teachers are happy to lend some to parents. For example, if you’re helping your child tell the time, take an old clock and have him or her turn the hands while you explain the idea.
Reading, spelling, and writing are often a challenge for these children. Buy letters and let kids spell words with things they can touch and feel. Sometimes it is beneficial to use a computer because they are moving keys. Computer math games are also effective.
Tapping out the syllables as you read the words helps kinesthetic learners pronounce the words phonetically. If they forget punctuation at the end of a sentence, suggest gestures such as a closed fist for a period, an outstretched arm for an exclamation point, or a curled hand with outstretched arm for a question mark. Through the use of the body, information is internalized.
Use games to reinforce learning. For addition and subtraction, play a game of dominoes or cards. Write new words on small cards and play “Go fish” or “Concentration” to help with reading skills.
all children benefit
Knowing how your child learns is important! When you can help your child in a way that they can respond positively, you set a good tone for learning. Self-esteem increases. Your kids will be happier because they feel accepted. They don’t have to study like everyone else. They have special abilities. They are unique!
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