A simple definition of a Learning Style is the way a person (in this case your child) takes in, understands, expresses and remembers information.
There are as many as eight Learning Styles, but I want to highlight what I believe are the three principle ones:
At Love2Learn we prefer to call a child’s preferred Learning Style, their Learning “Language”… it’s the way they learn best… and I’ll share more about why “Language”, lower down.
1. VISUAL LEARNERS
Visual children need to see your body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting very close to the visual source to avoid visual obstruction. They often think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including illustrated books and videos.
2. AUDITORY LEARNERS
Auditory learners learn best through discussion, talking things through and listening to what everyone has to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These children often benefit from reading books aloud.
3. KINAESTHETIC LEARNERS
Kinaesthetic/Tactile persons learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration.
Given the above then – and as just one example of
“WHY A LEARNING STYLE IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR CHILD“…
…can you appreciate that if your child’s preferred
Learning Style (Language) is e.g. KINAESTHETIC,
for them to be in a school classroom, forced to sit still and
not be allowed to make any comments, or ask questions
as the lesson unfolds,
is tantamount to TORTURE!
(All of their effort and energy is going into trying to sit still,
not make a sound or ask a question to satisfy their burning curiosity; and now we still expect them
to concentrate on what the teacher is saying!?)
However, in your home environment, it matters not at all if your child wants to do a handstand and brush the dog with a toothbrush at the same time that they are practicing their Times-tables!
When we don’t acknowledge a child’s preferred Learning Style, e.g.
- We give a VISUAL learner, mounds of boring, black and white worksheets, rather than full colour, living material, or
- We stifle the AUDITORY learner by expecting them to be silent and not allow them to ask questions…
…it’s like we are teaching them in a “language” they don’t understand; yet, we still expect them to!
What is SO IMPORTANT to grasp is that
on top of all of this,
not only are we NOT making any effort
to accommodate the way they learn,
we are also sending them subliminal messages that:
2. Ipso facto there is something wrong with THEM!
this can be misconstrued by your child;
and this syndrome is rife in mainstream schooling!
As a Curriculum provider for homeschooling, as well as a number of small cottage schools, our R&D at Love2Learn has gone to great lengths to ensure that the resources we offer, are “living” in nature and constitute full colour, photo-rich material wherever possible.
The reality is that when we do make the effort to accommodate a child’s preferred Learning Style, viz. we expose the VISUAL learner to a visual feast in the material they are working from, the KINAESTHETIC learner to engaging, hands-on activities, tasks, projects etc.; and we give the AUDITORY learner a chance to ask questions and drill-down into topics at hand, read material aloud, talk aloud to themselves, ask questions as they explore and discover… and so on and so forth; then, for each of them, it’s like we are suddenly educating in their respective “languages“!
The fact of the matter is that there is little
that is as liberating and empowering for a child,
than for them to develop a self-knowledge
and understanding of HOW they learn!