How Does Your Child Learn Best? Check This List of Learning Styles
When was the first time you discovered that people have different learning styles?
I figured it out during a school trip when I was a teenager. I remember my best friend walking around and repeating historical information aloud during our study period. It struck me as odd because I never studied that way. Years later, I understood that she was a kinesthetic and auditory learner.
Keep reading to know everything about “learning styles” and their importance in your child’s academic success!
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What’s a “Learning Style”?
If you want a simple definition, a learning style is how you prefer learning and processing new information. In other words, the strategies you use to save important information in your short and long-term memory.
Some people need to see the information written down to remember it. Others only need to hear it. Some students take notes. Others make mind maps or make drawings.
Most people need to combine two or more strategies to retain information.
What Are The Benefits Of Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style?
Understanding your child’s learning style can change everything.
It will save you time and will prevent your child from getting frustrated.
Let’s imagine that your child’s dream is to learn Spanish. So, to support him, you spend a lot of money on textbooks. But after a while, you notice that he’s not making any progress. Perhaps your child is an auditory learner and would benefit more from conversational classes, audiobooks, and podcasts instead of textbooks.
Knowing your child’s learning preferences can help you to choose the right materials and learning methods.
It doesn’t matter if your child is homeschooling or attending a traditional school. However, you should try to get to know your child’s needs and preferences as soon as possible.
Four Types of Learners and Learning Styles
The theory of different learning styles first appeared in 1987. Neil Fleming, a teacher from New Zealand, established the “VARK model,” based on four basic learning styles:
Even though most people combine styles, each person has a predominant one.
By now, you are probably asking yourself, “What’s my learning style?”
Keep reading to find out.
Visual Learning Style (Spatial)
Visual learners are also called “spatial.” They learn best from things they can see. If you notice that your child prefers learning information presented with lots of photos, graphics, or charts, you probably have a visual learner at home.
You might want to teach your kid how to color code information and remember things by using visually attractive metaphors.
You can also search for exciting documentaries and posters to aid his learning.
If your child is learning Spanish, get them started on the visually appealing Colors in Spanish!
Auditory Learning Style (Aural)
Auditory learners usually do great in college as they are good lecture listeners. They easily remember information just by listening to it. However, if they read, they usually prefer to do it aloud.
Language learning is recommended through conversation and some materials that require listening comprehension. Auditory learners also like to listen to music while studying, which helps them focus. Music can also provide a much-needed emotional connection.
A great technique for an auditory child is to come up with short rhyming poems that can help them memorize the information.
From now on, audiobooks will be your best friends!
Check out these 25+ Resources to Promote Spanish Listening Practice for Kids.
The traditional educational system was designed for reading and writing learners. Let me explain.
These types of learners assimilate information using words. However, they must read the information first, write it down, and take notes.
Does this sound familiar to you?
People that learn through reading and writing usually get good grades on written tests. However, other subjects that don’t involve writing might be challenging for them. So, they’ll understand graphs, diagrams, and tables only if they are described with words.
You might like: 21 Creative Journaling Ideas for Kids of Every Age (PreK-12)
Kinesthetic (Physical) Learning style
Nowadays, kinaesthetic or physical learners are also called “tactile learners.”
If your kid has trouble paying attention, you might discover that you have a kinesthetic learner at home. Physical learners perform well through hands-on activities. They learn by dancing or acting. For example, they will be delighted if you ask them to invent and perform a rap song.
Younger children can work great with manipulatives, puzzles, and everything they can put in their hands.
Check out hands-on ideas for homeschool sciences classes here.
Other Learning Styles Distinctions
If you think about how education has changed since 1987, when Fleming distinguished the four basic learning styles, you shouldn’t be surprised that people have “discovered” other learning styles
Nowadays, education is more individualized, and the best systems acknowledge that students can learn in different ways.
In fact, in 2018, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman wrote in an article called “Enough with the ‘Learning Styles’ Already!” In it, he says that scholars think there are up to 170 learning styles and consider it an exaggeration.
Regardless of Kaufman’s criticisms, there are other interesting learning styles that you might recognize in your child.
Logical and analytical learners don’t need to listen to music or feel the emotional connection. They will look for trends and patterns around them, including the information they receive.
They are good at analyzing, summarizing, and inferring. They are also good at science and math, as these subjects often require problem-solving skills.
Social learners learn surrounded by people. They enjoy team activities, group projects, collaborations, and role-playing. They thrive in study groups and learn through quizzing others and being quizzed.
Solitary learners, on the other hand, work better alone. They think that collaborative work is a waste of time. So instead, they like to study alone, take notes individually, and review them at home, where nobody can bother them.
Keeping a science journal can be one of their favorite activities!
Teaching them how to develop collaborative skills and delegate tasks can also be important for these types of learners.
Nature Learners (Natural)
Nature learners are similar to kinesthetic because they use their hands. However, they prefer a calm, educational environment—somewhere outside the school walls.
These kids enjoy outdoor activities and applying knowledge in real-life situations. For example, you can ask your kid to design a bridge over the closest stream to do some math calculations.
Providing Tailored Education
Understanding the learning styles is important not only for teachers but also for parents that want to improve their children’s learning experience.
You can take a learning style quiz for kids on this site or here to better understand your child’s preferences. You can also download this article written by Fleming about the importance of learning style quizzes for students of all ages.
Remember that considering your children’s preferences is not the same as spoiling them. On the contrary, it is the perfect way to help them to reach their full potential!
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