Long time no see! We’re back from a lengthy hiatus to bring you another guest post from our friend Crista Nezhni. If you’re interested in a psychologist’s perspective on children’s learning styles, keep reading to find out more!
Learning Styles: Types and Techniques
Often children are unjustly labeled as “stupid” or “lazy” in school. Some parents are even told that their little one is being “downright disrespectful” in their behaviors. Unfortunately, the truth is that teachers, coaches, and other potential role models have neglected to remember that all people learn in different ways. For this reason, some children’s needs are sadly neglected in the classroom.
Fortunately, we have much more perspective on this topic that can shed some light on this problematic situation!
The ‘VARK’ Learning Style Inventory identifies four separate learning modalities. These include: Visual (V), Aural (A), Reading/Writing (R), and Kinesthetic (K). People may engage in one of these styles, or a combination of them, at any given time. Furthermore, there are other models that identify even more styles.
When I was growing up, I often heard three types of learning styles acknowledged: Tactical (hands-on), Auditory (via means of hearing), and Visual (remembering information that one has seen). For the purpose of this piece, we will be sticking mostly with the ‘VARK’ identified modalities.
If your child has been told they have a ‘photographic memory’, there is a good chance that he or she mainly utilizes a visual learning style. With this method, an individual is more likely to retain information through images accompanied by words, ideas, or notions.
I actually have some personal experience with this particular form of learning. In fact, when I was in grade school, I bragged about how quickly I managed to “teach” my younger sister how to read. It only took one attempt to get through a book before she could “read it”. Obviously, I was unaware of how this learning style worked at the time!
Some tips for encouraging a visual learner’s success in school include highlighting or underlining, important information, reading that day’s planned chapters prior to the lecture, and utilizing colors, charts, and/ or flash cards to aid in the recall process. You may also want to employ shorthand or pictures in the notes that they take. Any visual aids help an individual who characteristically learns through this style.
Aural is essentially the same category as auditory in terms of learning styles. After a child who is an aural learner hears new knowledge, it can help him or her to duplicate this information out loud to aid in retention. Taping a lecture, reading the material audibly, or conversing about the newly gained knowledge with peers may also help one who learns best by hearing. YouTube videos are also a great tool if one learns via auditory means.
Unlike the visual learner, the reading/writing pupil does not focus as much on images and signs. Instead, they take most data through the means of reading and writing text. Hence, taking his or her own notes and then transliterating any underlying notions and impressions can aid these students in meeting their full potential.
Lists are wonderful tools to apply in the studying process if your child mostly learns through the reading/writing method. You may want to visualize these lists in a multiple-choice question format to aid in distinguishing information. Instead of making charts or diagrams, words are preferable for these students. Gestures during lectures can also assist these pupils in reaching their educational goals.
Hands-on learners are our kinesthetic, or tactile, scholars. They may appear completely confused during a lecture or demonstration, yet when someone else helps guide them through an activity it is as though they were a natural.
Some keys to aiding a person who absorbs information through these means include allowing him or her to move around while gaining the new information, utilizing role-play or other everyday experiences to help demonstrate how the information can best be applied in real life, and writing down what he or she is trying to remember multiple times.
Recording notes and listening to a lecture while engaging in movement can be very helpful for these pupils. Also, personal trial and error are very important in this style. Field trips, recipes, lab classes, and exhibits can aid in a fuller understanding of information.
It’s imperative to remember that these learning styles do not only affect a child’s educational successes. Learning modalities also play into relationships and communication styles: Completing a chore correctly, understanding why a communication style did or did not work, or even the frustration levels of parents and children may feel if the child “just didn’t get it.” Furthermore, these learning styles are often overlooked in sports.
For example, while athletic endeavors include movement, an individual may not process what was just shown to him or her if their main learning style is not visual. They may not recall information verbalized if they do not learn mainly by auditory means. Take the time to observe where your child, athlete, or student is struggling, and attempt to try some of the tips in this article to aid in helping him or her to understand the information a little better.
This may help you to realize that the individual you are becoming frustrated with is not bored with you, being lazy, not trying, or something of the sort. He or she may simply have a different way of recalling information than you do. I am sure you will come up with some amazing ideas of your own to add to these tips!
I hope Crista’s article can provide some insight into your own child and the way they learn. We’re big fans of the Reading/Writing style of learning ourselves; you can see what we mean with our latest children’s book, The Petty Prince!
Our softcover version of this cute springtime story is out now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. The hardcover and eBook versions are on their way too, and you can Become a Member of our mailing list to find out as soon as they launch.
Thanks for reading!