We are all unique individuals made up of strengths and weaknesses, yet, when it comes to learning, we tend to teach children in the very same way. When this happens it can lead to a child not loving learning and perhaps struggling to learn.
It has long been accepted that each child has his/her own learning style. It is important to identify a child’s learning style/styles to help them soar.
What are the different types of learning styles?
It is widely accepted that there are seven different learning styles. These would include:
Visual: Visual learners learn best when they have images or visual cues to help them process information. They can better process their thoughts by drawing them. Common characteristics include:
- Have good spatial sense and sense of direction
- Can easily visualize objects, plans, and outcomes
- Like coloring, drawing, and doodling
Aural (Auditory-Musical): Aural learners respond primarily to sound. Most musicians are auditory learners. Common characteristics include:
- Find that certain music evokes strong emotions
- Enjoy listening to music in the background while learning
- Have a good sense of pitch or rhythm
- Songs, jingles, and themes tend to pop in their heads without any prompting
Verbal (Linguistic): Verbal learners learn best with both verbal instructions and writing. They are usually people that go into fields such as journalism, law, public speaking etc. Common characteristics include:
- Express themselves in both written and spoken word
- Enjoy reading and writing
- Like tongue twisters and rhymes
- Have a large vocabulary and enjoy learning new words.
Physical (Kinesthetic): Physical learners learn primarily through movement. They are extremely animated and always need to be moving. They learn best by doing things. Common characteristics include:
- Notice and appreciate the physical world around them, such as textures
- Enjoys sports and exercise along with outdoor activities and working with their hands
- Tend to use and pick up on body language
- Enjoy making models or doing jigsaw puzzles
Logical (Mathematical): Logical learners are those who are interested in understanding the reason behind something. They enjoy games such as chess and brainteasers. These individuals usually end up being engineers, scientists or mathematicians. Common characteristics include:
- Classify and group information together to better understand it
- Perform complex calculations
- Plan agendas and itineraries and even rank and number them
Social (Interpersonal): Social learners are extremely good at teamwork. They are usually involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. They appreciate and benefit from peer feedback. Common characteristics include:
- Prefer to socialize after work or class
- Enjoy playing group sports
- Bounce ideas off others to work through issues in a group
- Listen well
- Are often trusted by others for their advice
Solitary (Intrapersonal): Solitary learners prefer to learn on their own. This doesn’t mean that all of them are introverts. There might be some who are social and extroverted but prefer to learn alone. Common characteristics include:
- Spend time on self-analysis
- Prefer to relax or travel away from crowds
- Think independently
- Journal, write, and record personal thoughts and events as a way to improve.
Parents need to observe their child closely while they learn. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Does my child learn better when there are pictures or visuals in a story?
- Does he like me to narrate and explain lessons to him?
- Does she remember answers better if she discusses and debates them with me?
- Is my child more eager to experiment and learn about a concept instead of reading about it or watching it?
- Does my child expect me to always give her the logic behind the things I teach her?
- Does he enjoy his lesson more when learning with his friends?
- Does she get irritated when assigned team projects in school?
Keeping an open mind and recognizing and accepting a child’s strengths and limitations is key. There is no one-size-fits-all. Accept and respect a child’s uniqueness, and watch him grow to love learning!