A child’s learning style is how he or she gets and processes new information. All children learn in different ways.
Why Are Learning Styles Important?
As the child’s first teacher, parents should identify and accommodate for the child’s preferred learning style. Understanding how the child learns is very important in his or her attitude toward learning and success.
Parents will help the child better by knowing his or her learning styles. Otherwise, may get really bad teaching results, although the patents were trying hard to “help the child”. For example, most parents assume unintentionally that their child learns exactly like they do, however it is not true. Children often have different learning styles than their parents, and have different learning styles than their siblings. The sooner parents understand learning styles and the child’s preferred learning styles, the sooner parents will be able to help the child effectively.
Three Typical Learning Styles
Everyone learns differently. However, we can categorize learning styles into three typical ones, which are learning by hearing or auditory, learning by seeing or visual, and learning by doing or kinetic.
Hearing or Auditory
If a child learns best by hearing, people call him or her an auditory learner. He or she will be very sensitive to voice. He or she can sense speakers’ emotion by the voice, such as happy, angry, and frustrated. Voice has big impact on him or her. The child enjoys the lessons on podcasts, MP3 players, CDs, radios and tapes. He or she has weak tolerance to noise.
Seeing or Visual
If a child learns best by seeing, people call him or her a visual learner. He or she will be very sensitive to facial expressions in terms of understanding emotions. He or she prefers to see pictures, charts, graphs, diagrams, video and TV to get information. Other visual images can distract him or her from concentrating on studying.
Doing or Kinetic
If a child learns best by doing, called a kinesthetic learner, he or she prefers to touch and manipulate objects. His or her body moves frequently. Therefore, it is very hard to let the child sit for a long time listening or watching, like in the traditional classroom, where a teacher is talking, the students are listening and watching the teacher. The child’s learning style is his or her distraction from concentrating on listening or seeing. Lab time may be his or her favorite time.
Understanding a Child’s Learning Style
Almost every child is capable of learning in any of these styles. As the child gets older, he or she may use each of these styles. However, he or she may have a preferred learning style.
In order to identify the child’s preferred learning style, parents can look for clues in three ways, which are to listen to the words the child uses, to watch how he or she teaches others, to pay attention to the way he or she plays.
What are the words or phrases the child often uses?
- Relate to hearing or listening such as talk, listen, hear, sound, etc. This suggests an auditory approach.
- Related to seeing, showing a picture of the information, these words or phrases might include see, look, observe, etc. This suggests a visual approach.
- Related to doing such as sit, jump, go, try, act, get, etc. This suggests a kinetic approach.
Asking the child to teach someone else how to do something
This is a valuable way to identify the child’s learning style, because people usually teach using their preferred learning style.
- auditory learner will explain the process using words in mouth.
- A visual learner will draw a picture may even use different colors to demonstrate it.
- A kinetic learner will “walk” through the process while doing it.
By the theory of multiple intelligence, human beings possess a lot of different types of intelligence, and most of time, they function together. Therefore, every individual has the ability to use every learning style. However, everybody has one or two styles that work better for him or her when learn.
As the child’s first teacher, parents’ job is to help the child enjoy learning. If the child is struggling with a task, it is likely he or she is not using his or her preferred learning style. Help the child by incorporating his or her learning style into the task, and then he or she will enjoy the learning process.