What are learning styles…and why does it matter? A child’s learning style is how he processes information the easiest…and this can be VERY helpful as you help him try to retain the information he is learning at school or home. I heard a speaker talk about learning styles and she used a very simple illustration to give parents a hint as to which learning style is most predominant in your child. This is not overly scientific, but it does give a little insight as to which approach might help your child as they learn and read.
The speaker encouraged us to observe our child as we asked them simple questions, about anything as the questions and answers were not really important, but HOW they answered was. They are likely to do one of three things (at least most of the time) when they ponder their answers…
1. Your child may look “up” as if to search for the answer somewhere in outer space…this is an indication that your child may be a visual learner. It is almost as if they search around to “see” the answer! This child is all about what they can see when learning, so a very colourful, detailed book would be wonderful for them as they tend to think in pictures. Any kind of chart, diagram, photograph etc. will help them absorb the information better. They also tend to sit at the front of a classroom so they can take in everything the teacher has to say…including their visual expressions and body language.
2. Your child may look “sideways” as if to look for the answer in their ears…this would be an indication that your child may be an auditory learner. It is almost as if they are looking to find the answer in their ears as this is how they seem to learn the best…by hearing! The information comes to life via listening to the tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. This type of child would do well listening to parents read a book aloud or with books on CD.
3. Your child may look “down” at their hands as if looking for the answer there…this would be an indication that your child may be a kinesthetic (tactile) learner that seems to learn best by doing! This type of child needs to be moving while learning…so maybe learning to count by jumping on the stairs or playing with lego while listening to mom read so they can sit still a bit longer. They really need to be able to explore the world around them and need a very hands-on approach to learning.
It is so interesting to watch our kids and see where their strengths are…and then teach to those strengths. This exercise can give you some clues as to what is in your child’s head…and maybe even in your own too! Give it a try…I would love to hear about your experiences!