An understanding of how children learn can help foster optimal results and build their character. The parents, teachers, and guardians should know the best ways to encourage creativity, teamwork, curiosity, self-confidence, self-regulation, kindness, and humor in kids.
Learning styles in children can be categorized into three types:
Learning styles are a way to understand how people learn best. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and everyone has different learning preferences. However, these categories can help you better identify your kid’s learning style to create a more effective teaching environment.
Most children are a mix of different types, but it can be helpful to find out if they lean more towards one than another.
This blog post will help you figure out which learning method is suitable for your kids!
What are the major categories of learning styles?
Visual learners pick up information by observing their surroundings, whereas auditory learners take more comfort with listening and understanding things as they happen. On the other hand, kinesthetic learners may not respond well to lectures or reading aloud but rather learn best by participating in physical activities.
Aristotle noticed individual differences in young children and recognized learning styles as early as 334 BC. According to him, every child has specific talents and skills that parents should nurture to reach their fullest potential.
When you gain insight into how your child processes knowledge and embrace their learning style, you can help them do their best inside and outside the classroom.
In a nutshell, it can be valuable in assisting them to work to the best of their ability.
Visual learners – process information with their eyes
Visual learners are happier with written information, directions, and lists. Pictures, images, charts, and graphics are helpful tools for learning. They also enjoy reading books.
Visual learners respond better to:
- Charts, tables, and graphs
- Pictures and maps
- Projectors and infographics
- Written directions
- Reading and writing
How to determine if your child is a visual learner
Visual learners usually sit in the front of the classroom. You can find them taking notes when studying as it allows them to retain information. They often find it difficult to remember things they've read but can easily recall images and pictures.
According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of the population are visual learners and benefit more from infographics.
If your child is a visual learner, they will have difficulty staying focused on long lectures or discussions. When solving problems, they rely heavily on drawing diagrams or doing physical work instead of using math formulas or verbal reasoning.
Moreover, their favorite subjects are those which involve art, photography, and science experiments. They thrive when given independent projects where they can explore and come up with creative solutions.
How to support the visual learning style in your child
You can help your child by using graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams or mind maps for brainstorming. Make flashcards with words, facts, and definitions to aid revision. Build in sufficient time and keep materials handy so they can take notes while studying.
- Give them a highlighter pen to mark important points.
- Encourage them to draw flow charts, maps, graphs, and diagrams.
- Use flashcards, picture charts, and power-point presentations.
- Ask them to rewrite notes to help them recall.
- Share informative videos of various concepts.
- Provide notes or information instead of reading it aloud.
Auditory learners – process learning through their ears
Auditory learners favor sound and process information best when they hear it. These children benefit from lessons that involve speaking and listening. It helps them to read aloud.
Auditory learners can take in large amounts of information quickly and efficiently by listening to it. As a result, they excel at tasks that involve hearing things repeatedly, such as memorizing poetry or multiplication tables.
However, it can be challenging for auditory learners to understand complex concepts that aren't broken down into smaller chunks.
Auditory learners are responsive to:
- Verbal instructions
- Group work and discussing information with peers
- Recalling by listening, especially to music
- Reading with whispering lip movements
How to determine if your child is an auditory learner
Auditory learners typically have a strong need to be spoken to. They are often very curious and love asking questions. If you notice your child has an affinity for music, sings, or talks all the time, there is a good chance they might be auditory learners.
Roughly 30% of people are auditory learners who may have difficulties understanding information if presented visually or through physical activity.
Since auditory learners are the chatterboxes, they have a hard time reading silently. It’s normal for them to talk or move their lips when writing things down. They also talk to themselves often or hum a lot.
If your child likes listening to stories with sound effects and dramatic voices more than regular books, they could also be an auditory learner.
In addition, if their favorite toy makes noise (i.e., drum set), their learning style may lean towards being auditory-based.
How to support the auditory learning style in your child
Your child can learn better by reciting facts or spelling words out loud. Furthermore, read-aloud apps and books on tape are beneficial to auditory learners.
- Encourage them to narrate, read out loud or tell stories.
- Play games such as spelling bee.
- Use a question and answer format, which they have to answer verbally.
- Record vital concepts and definitions, so they can later listen to them for revision.
- Ask your kid to tell you what they have understood in their own words.
- Pair new knowledge with music, rhymes, or clapping.
Kinesthetic learners– process learning by actions
Kinesthetics can be divided into two categories: tactile-kinesthetic learners and proprioceptive kinesthetic learners.
Tactile-kinesthetic learners like to learn by touching objects, manipulating them, breaking them down into smaller pieces, etc. Alternatively, proprioceptive kinesthetic kids learn best through bodily movement like running, dancing, or climbing a mountain!
Overall, kinesthetic learners use their five senses while studying different subjects. They need to experience the material for it to register and make sense.
Such children often find themselves bored in classes where they can’t interact with materials or physically participate in lectures. However, they thrive when given hands-on activities or tasks that allow them to engage with what they're learning.
Characteristics of kinesthetic learners include:
- Tapping, moving, and swinging their legs to stay focused
- Hands-on learning, in-class demonstrations, and work outside the classroom
- Frequent breaks during studying
- Doodling and drawing pictures while listening
How to determine if your child is a kinesthetic learner
Kinesthetic learners tend to be more active kids who enjoy physical activities like playing sports, climbing trees, running around outside with friends, and building things out of blocks or LEGOs.
Besides, they wiggle and fidget, bounce around, kick their legs, and can’t sit still for long.
Kinesthetic kids might enjoy:
- Manipulating objects like clay, blocks, or building toys.
- Using their body to explore space - playing with balls or other things that can roll around.
- Creating art through drawing, painting, sculpting, and more.
Kinesthetic people make up just 5% of the population, so it's a bit challenging to figure out if your child is one of them.
If you think they might be this type, talk with their teacher or other adults in charge for more information on how kinesthetics learn best and what types of tasks are most appropriate for them!
How to support the kinesthetic learning style in your child
You can help your child learn by writing tasks on small cards. Let them walk around while memorizing the spelling word on the card and allow them to take frequent breaks. For instance, they could jump in place after solving four math problems.
- Play interactive games with your children.
- Engage them in role plays, experiments, and multiple projects.
- Use globes, models, puzzles, and building blocks.
- Try to plan short study periods with breaks and move to another room from time to time. Otherwise, they may get overwhelmed quickly or lose interest.
- Ask your kid to keep their index finger on the page to add some motion.
- Encourage them to pursue sports.
Beyond the three primary learning styles, Howard Gardner, Ph.D., developed the Multiple Intelligences theory to establish learning potential. In his theory, he defined these 9 learning intelligence types that could identify different ways to present learning material to your child.
- Verbal-linguistic intelligence. The ability to understand and communicate using words.
- Logical-mathematical intelligence. The ability to recognize mathematical and logical patterns to make connections.
- Spatial-visual intelligence. Having well-developed visual skills to process and recall visual information and also in creating mental images.
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. The capacity to process information and solve problems through hand and body movements.
- Musical intelligence. The capacity to recognize, recall and create music patterns.
- Interpersonal (social) intelligence. The ability to understand and respond to other people’s feelings, motivations, moods, and desires.
- Intrapersonal. Having well-developed self-awareness and reflection skills to control their life.
- Naturalist intelligence. The capacity to recognize patterns and categorize natural elements.
- Existential intelligence (spirituality). The capacity to raise and ponder deep questions on human existence.
According to Gardner, instructors should present learning materials in multiple ways to accommodate the different intelligence types.
How do teaching styles affect learning?
Educators can motivate students by using group discussions to capture their attention. Assigning projects and performing experiments assists children to understand course material and not just remember it.
Many people in the field of education argue that the teaching style can significantly affect learning. The three most frequently discussed styles are authoritarian, democratic, and permissive.
Authoritarian teachers have strict rules for students to follow and often use punishments such as detention or extra homework if these rules are not followed.
Democratic teachers ask their students to participate in decision-making about what they will learn, how difficult it will be, and when classwork needs to be done.
Permissive educators let their pupils decide on an activity without any input from them at all.
These various methods of instruction could lead to different levels of student performance depending on which style is in use.
Most teachers prefer a permissive teaching style as it gives students the freedom to pursue their interests. This learning environment is beneficial for the student and helps them develop a lifelong love of learning and curiosity.
However, many factors affect how well a student will learn in a classroom. These include but are not limited to: age of the child, intelligence level, environment outside of school (home life), and socio-economic status.
Teachers need to be aware of these factors when considering which teaching style would work best for each student in their class.
When teachers employ effective teaching strategies, students become actively involved in the learning process and reach their learning objectives. Additionally, effective teaching develops character strengths like bravery, leadership, spirituality, social intelligence, and judgment.
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