Determining Your Child’s Learning Style
All children learn in different ways and at different speeds. If your child seems to be having difficulty following along in class, or they experience regular frustration in being unable to do their homework on their own, do not fret as there may be a reason for this. Not all children take to the traditional teaching methods as well as their peers and if teachers are conducting their lessons in a certain way, it may be that your child learns in a completely different way.
This is natural, and although there are a number of variations on how people in general learn, there are three main differing categories: auditory learners, visual learners and kinaesthetic, otherwise known as tactile learners. What this means is that different people have different ways of processing information, and their minds are wired to better understand lessons that are taught a certain way.
Unfortunately with a classroom of 30 children there may be some discrepancies, so it is impossible for one teacher to tailor their entire lesson schedule to suit the different individuals’ learning styles. However as a parent you can always help your child to learn outside of class and by getting a fair knowledge of their individual learning type you can certainly make it easier for them to come to terms with the lessons covered in class. Auditory Learners
Auditory learners basically learn through listening. They depend on speaking and hearing information and find it far easier when instructions are pronounced than if they were written down. In some classrooms this is beneficial as a teacher will often say their lesson out loud to the class. However in other classrooms where the teacher relies on children taking notes in order to grasp the concept of the lesson, auditory learners may suffer because of a lack of speech in the lesson.
Auditory learners tend to talk about their feelings and their problems, and when coming across a problem, will prefer to talk about how to resolve the problem. Auditory learners have an ear for music and will often recognise or memorise music pieces or songs far more quickly than children who are not auditory learners. Visual Learners
Visual learners learn through observation and through viewing images or video. They find it easier to make sense of images and graphical diagrams when used in conjunction with text on a board or in a textbook as they can properly link the diagram with the informative text.
Visual learners tend to be more interested in images and videos and will often use their eyes to solve problems instead of voicing opinions out loud. They tend not to physically or verbally express themselves but instead can be expressive through their facial expressions.
Kinaesthetic or Tactile Learners
Kinaesthetic learners are practical learners and tend to learn by physically doing things. Generally, kinaesthetic learners have the most trouble focusing and learning in general lessons as their style of learning requires a more hands-on experience. In the younger years, kinaesthetic learners tend to excel ahead of their classmates because of the practical approach to teaching, however in the later years as teaching turns to reciting speeches, reading information and listening to the teacher talk and write on the board, kinaesthetic learners can suffer.
Kinaesthetic learners express themselves through their body language and are generally interested in physical activities. They take quickly to sport and do not enjoy sitting down and reading or simply listening, they always need something to do. They learn well through touch and through both large and small muscle movement, so traditional teaching methods may not be best suited for kinaesthetic learners. Exercises to Determine Your Child’s Learning Style You can give your child a problem and see how he or she decides to solve it, or simply observe your child for a day or two to find out their individual learning style. If you aren’t sure or are not that eager on boxing your child into a single learning style, there are a number of free questionnaires online which could help determine their learning style. Alternatively, if it is seriously affecting you child’s learning process you could always book a session or two with a private teacher and get their feedback on whether or not it is up to their learning style or whether there are other factors that may be affecting your child’s ability to learn. The Importance of Patience Regardless of how your child learns best, it is important to stay patient with him or her as everyone learns in a different way. Every child is an individual and while you may find it easy to understand in theory, in practice it is hard to believe that your son or daughter has difficulty grasping numbers in one way and not in another. Whatever your child’s learning style, it is important to encourage your child to learn and to grow in the way that they best know how.
It may take a little effort on your part to teach them in the style that they find easiest, but in the end it will certainly have a positive effect on their learning and on how they approach learning. Children who find it easier to grasp the solution to problems will be much more eager to learn more and will have an overall more positive outlook on learning and growing in general and this makes a significant difference when it comes to the child starting formal schooling.
By planting the seeds of engaging and exciting learning into your child by using their learning style as an advantage as opposed to an obstacle, you are on the track to giving your child better opportunities, particularly when it comes to starting school and applying the things they have learnt to the real world.
As a mother of a child at nursery with another on the way, Daphne Pointers is passionate about education and works as a classroom assistant. She writes about this and SEN teaching topics for Moon Hall College, a specialist dyslexia school located in Surrey.