Understand your Children's Learning Styles

Learning Styles

Every child is a unique individual with their own personality traits and learning styles. Children have vivid contrasts in their development compared with peers and their own siblings. Knowing your child’s learning style will help you, and them, understand the different ways in which they process information. This enables you to decide how best to present experiences so they are able to gain confidence in their own abilities.

To nurture self- esteem and allow children to develop at their own pace, and in their own style, teach them to understand their learning style. Learning styles group common ways people learn. Some people may find that they have a dominant way of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Some children will use different styles for different circumstances. It is possible to develop abilities in less dominant styles if you understand them. Understanding learning styles is a simple way of allowing your children to see they are unique and have their own special way of learning. You will find both you and your child are more accepting of differences in others.

Learning Styles

There are seven common and quite distinctive learning styles. They are:

  • ·auditory/musical learners
  • ·visual/spatial learners
  • ·physical/kinesthetic learners
  • ·logical/mathematical learners
  • ·social/interpersonal learners
  • ·and solitary/intrapersonal learners.

Some children will be a combination of learning styles but will predominately fit into one learning style.

AUDITORY / MUSICAL LEARNING STYLE

Auditory / musical learners learn best through sounds and music. They need to speak to hear to learn. You will notice they can remember what they hear or say without writing it down. They like to talk through problems and listen to what others have to say. Class discussions and teacher explanations are enjoyed and they love to have their opinions heard. They are often easily distracted by noise. They may vocalize and move their lips while reading and find it difficult to work quietly for extended periods of time. They are musical and have a good sense of pitch, rhyme and rhythm. You can ask an auditory learner to speak quietly but never tell them to be quiet or you will interfere with their learning process of needing to hear what they are learning. They will use language such as; ‘That’s music to my ears”, “That sounds about right”, and “Clear as a bell”. Their special interests may be in playing a musical instrument, writing music, and sound production.

VISUAL / SPATIAL LEARNING STYLE

Visual / spatial learners learn best when they work with pictures, images, colors and maps. They prefer words to be written down and like to copy from the board. They like to deal with real objects, or pictures of objects, being described. Being very observant of their physical environment they are able to attend to detail and can be quite artistic. They like to decorate their work space and use lots of color. You will find them using illustrations and diagrams to help them remember information. They like to take notes which they reorganize, and recopy, and prefer to follow oral instructions that are also written on work sheets. They can easily visualize objects, plans and outcomes and have a great sense of direction. They will use language such as; “Let’s look at it differently”, and “Let’s draw it”. Their special interests are art, photography, design and navigation.

PHYSICAL / KINESTHETIC LEARNING STYLE

Physical / kinesthetic learners learn best when they can use their body, hands and sense of touch. They are among the most active learners. They would rather pull things apart and reassemble them than follow a plan that is written down. They will be active, vocal and thoughtful, throughout the learning experience. They find it difficult to be still for long periods and use large hand gestures and other body language to communicate. Preferring to be shown what to do rather than be told, they may seem to need your constant attention. They learn well if their feelings are involved. They are sensitive to their surroundings and appreciate textures. You will find them tireless, questioning, inquisitive, energetic, sensitive and tactile. They will use language such as; “That feels right to me”, and “My gut feeling is..”. Their special interests are sports, drama, mechanical and construction.

VERBAL/LINGUISTIC LEARNING STYLE

Verbal/linguistic learners learn best with written and spoken word. They find it easy to express themselves both verbally and in writing. They are ‘in love’ with words and know the meaning of difficult words and use them in conversation. They love to play with word sounds and enjoy poetry and limericks. They articulate, spell and write well. They have excellent reading skills and a comprehensive general knowledge. They can learn and recite from books they have read. They will use language such as; “Tell me word for word”, and “Let me spell it out for you”. Their special interests are; writing stories and books, public speaking and debating, and reading aloud.

LOGICAL/MATHEMATICAL LEARNING STYLE

Logical and mathematical learners use their brains for reasoning. They recognize patterns easily and connections between content in their work. They classify and group information to understand what they are learning. Being proficient at math they can work well with all forms, as well as applying themselves to mental problems. They are organized and logical in their thinking and work through problems in a systematic way. They write lists, like games such as brain teasers and chess and excel at PC games. They will use language such as; “That’s logical”, “Let’s make a list”, and “There’s no pattern to this”. Their special interests are, computers, math, and sciences.

SOCIAL/INTERPERSONAL LEARNING STYLES

Social/interpersonal learners like to learn within a group or spend one on one time with a teacher. They have a strong social awareness and communicate well both verbally and nonverbally. They are good listeners and like to ask questions and learn from others opinions. They prefer to work through their lessons within a group. Other learners seek them out as they are sensitive to the moods and feelings of others. They are often a leader and an instigator of activities with good organization skills. They will use language such as; “Let’s work together” and “Let’s explore our options”. Their special interests are; teaching, coaching, team games.

SOLITARY/INTRAPERSONAL LEARNING STYLE

Solitary/intrapersonal learners are private and independent learners. They concentrate and focus well on their work. They are aware of their own thinking and take time to ponder solutions to challenges. They would rather work things out for themselves than ask someone else. They like to spend time alone and are often content to be by themselves with their thoughts. They like to make plans and set goals and often choose their life plan in childhood. Their social group is often small. They will use language such as; “I’d like some time to think it over” and “I’d like to get away for a while.” Their special interests are; writing books, researching and outdoor pursuits.

We all learn differently and understanding your child’s learning style allows you to present them with experiences that will lead to them gaining confidence in their own abilities.

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Heather Collins

Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.

Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing heathercreated@gmail.com. You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.

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