Monday, August 22, 2011

How Does Your Child Learn: The Different Learning Styles

The Science teacher explains the leaf system in class. Jonah, who sits at the back of the class, enjoys Science a lot and he is just too eager to learn about how leaves actually make food. Although, the teacher uses visual aids, Jonah still can't appreciate the lesson because he is just too far from the board. So what does he do? He gets bored and tries to strike a conversation with his seatmate. 

Katie, who is in the same class as Jonah, is seated in the front row, right in front of the teacher. She sees the chart, the colorful pictures shown by the Science teacher but she somehow dozes off to lala land without the teacher seeing her. 

Matthew, who also finds the lesson interesting, feels that there is more to this Science class and sneaks out of the classroom to investigate in the school garden. 

Jonah, Katie and Matthew learn differently from each other. All three students have different learning styles.

Jonah: The Visual Learner
Because Jonah was seated at the back row, he could not appreciate the lesson. The lesson interesting to him but because he has no direct access to the visual aids he cannot completely grasp what the teacher is talking about. Visual learners learn more when they SEE the actual actual pictures or drawings being presented. They learn more when they READ themselves rather than somebody reading to them.  Grasping the lesson would take time as they are trying to visualize or picture the subject in their minds. So, getting the attention of visual learners could be a challenge unless you provide them with vivid, colorful pictures or provide the actual objects. Field trips could also be beneficial too for these kids as they could see the real thing in real life. Visual learners would be delighted with art classes, photography classes, and cartooning.

Katie: The Auditory Learner
While Katie is seeing the pictures presented by the teacher, she feels overwhelmed because not only is she having a visual representation of the subject but she is also hearing it closely. Auditory learners, learn more when they HEAR the lessons instead of having a visual experience of it. I remember when Coby was in preschool, the teacher told me that every time the teacher explains a subject to him, Coby does not seem to be paying attention. But when the teacher asks him to repeat what she said, Coby would echo the lesson back to her in toto. He does not need to see what is being talked about, all he needs to do is hear the speaker. Auditory learners work well with music on their background. You will find them, sometimes, humming while playing, eating or just busy doing something. I would like to believe that they also love to talk and finds comfort in vocally expressing themselves. Auditory learners would be excited to learn how to play musical instruments, attend dance classes or take up singing lessons.  

Matthew: The Kinesthetic Learner
Matthew wants to absorb the lesson well, so he goes out and searches for plants. He wants to touch them, smell them and look at them. He needs to touch everything. He needs to manipulate objects and learn from it. He needs to move. In Math, kinesthetic learners would appreciate manipulatives like coins, pebbles, sticks and counters. They also love to use clay, play with sand or building blocks. These kids move around a lot, because their brains are telling them to. They do not do it intentionally to irritate people, it's just how they are wired. They also enjoy tinkering things. Small kids would accidentally destroy a toy because they want to find out how things work. Kinesthetic learners would probably enjoy sports or gymnastics. 

All children, including adults have different learning styles. It is said that all three are seen in each individual but only would stand out which could help your child/student learn well. Figure out what your child's learning style is and provide the necessary tools that would enable him/her to absorb the lessons well. Just because one style stands out doesn't mean, the other styles should be left out. Allow the child to also develop other learning styles to create a holistic approach to learning. 

You can check out to determine your child's learning style. Remember too that each child was created by God to have their own unique character traits, gifts, and innate intelligence. 

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