Learning in children is the way they respond to environmental, social, emotional and physical stimuli to understand new information while learning style is the way they absorb information and mentally process it.
The literature on learning styles varies but the following basic ones would be discussed for the purpose of this article. Figure out which applies to your child to enable you optimize their learning potential to the utmost level this new school year.
1. Visual. Prefers learning using pictures, images, videos and other graphics.
2. Auditory. Prefers using sound and listening.
3. Verbal (linguistic). Prefers using words, both in speech and writing.
4. Kinesthetic. Prefers using your body, hands and sense of touch.
It is not unusual for children to combine two of these learning styles but most children tend to tilt dominantly towards one particular learning style. It is now the responsibility of parents to find this out because it could be the game-changer for some children.
In order to provide more information, I have put together brief details on each learning style. If you recognize any familiar trait in your child, it might be the right time to stop focusing on your own way and start paying attention to what your child actually needs.
Visual Learner. Learns through seeing, needs to see the teacher’s body language/facial expression, often closes their eyes to visualize or remember, usually take detailed notes to absorb the information, needs plenty of pictures, maps, diagrams and colour, may think more in pictures and learn better with illustrated textbooks, PowerPoint presentations, videos.
Get your child to do the following and also help with some of them if you have to.
*Sit in the front roll in the classroom. This would help him/her see the teacher’s body language while teaching.
*Use colours to highlight important points in text.
*Use pictures, maps, diagrams to learn different topics.
*Study in a quiet place away from verbal disturbances.
*Write seemingly difficult information down over and over again to memorise them.
Auditory Learner. Learns best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through, and listening to what others have to say. They also often repeat to themselves new information learnt, learn more by reading aloud, prefers oral instructions to written ones.
*Encourage participation more in class discussions (for such children, group discussions work better).
*Encourage speeches and presentations on new topics.
*They can sit at the back or side rows with less visual but should be able to hear the teacher clearly.
*Encourage use of mnemonics and other abbreviations to memorise difficult information.
Kinesthetic Learner. Learns best through a hands-on method, enjoys tasks that involves manipulating materials and objects, remembers what is done but has difficulty recalling what was said or seen, often adventurous, may find it difficult to sit still for long periods, finds reason to fidget or move while bored and often good at drawing designs.
*Make them take frequent study breaks or vary their study activities.
*Make their study periods more physical, such as studying while taking a walk, chewing a gum, squeezing a tennis ball, etc.
*Use bright colours to highlight important points.
*Before studying a note, let them scan through the note first and then study it carefully thereafter.
*Use mind mapping to teach them.
*Create a vivid picture of whatever you are teaching them in their minds before you start teaching as this would help keep the big picture in mind.