Learning styles: How does your child’s brain (and your own) love to learn?

© Dean Lipoff 2011

Part of what makes an individual unique is how he learns and discovers new things. We use our senses to understand the world around us and usually have one sense that is a bit stronger in that assessment than another. Different learning styles are all about the way learning is approached and optimized individually.

If you are a parent to a young child, you may have heard the term ” learning style” tossed about.

But, what does that mean?

It’s actually not as crazy as you might think.

A learning style can be defined as an individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Once a person connects with a certain style of learning, it provides the opportunity to tap into the brain and the expansion of learning.

Auditory Learning Style

Auditory learners connect with listening and hearing when learning. Lectures provide a wealth of information and auditory learners enjoy listening and paying attention. According to FamilyEducaion.com, auditory learners benefit from traditional teaching techniques in the classroom. Teachers and parents can aid in learning by adding extra auditory interest by using voice fluctuations during lectures or reading directions, and using verbal clues often.

Visual Learning Style

Visual learners find seeing information demonstrated, observing charts and visual aids, or watching a movie or video to be beneficial to learning. Learning often takes place in large visual chunks for visual learners. And within the classroom or home, including charts, diagrams, and other visual aids to help the visual learner see the big-picture and understand new concepts is very beneficial.

Kinetic Learning Style

Kinetic learners are doers and learning takes place through movement and action. Touching, feeling, exploring and experimenting trough the sense of touch is essential for the kinetic learner. Kinetic learners are active, which is sometimes misunderstood within the classroom or at home. Offer hands-on activities within the educational and learning environment to provide the kinetic learner the opportunity to retain information while doing.

How to Determine Your Learning Style

There are several simple questionnaire tests you can take to help determine what learning style is dominant in you or your child. Some can figure it out by paying attention to how they learn or by observing a child in the classroom or home environment. But, for others, it can be a bit more challenging.

Consider how you enjoy learning. Visualize yourself in an educational situation. Which do you prefer – lectures, visuals, or activities? If you prefer listening to a lecture on a topic you are interested in, you are probably an auditory learner. Those that enjoy watching a demonstrative video can be considered visual learners. And if you’d rather be doing a hands-on activity, like a dissection, you probably connect best with kinetic learning style.

The same goes for your child – how does he like learning about new things? Does he talk and talk and talk (auditory) about his new favorite subject or does he prefer drawing pictures or making real-life models (visual)? While exploring new concepts, would he prefer to act out scenarios and conduct experiments (kinetic)?

Understanding Your Learning Style

Now that you have an idea what style of learning best fits you or your child, you can begin using it to your advantage. While learning, or offering a helping hand while doing homework, use this knowledge to advance how you, or your child, gather and retain information. A visual learner can observe, look at pictures about a new subject matter, and create charts and graphs. Auditory learners can search out lectures and discussions about topics they find interesting. And kinetic learners can engage in activities and hands-on projects or conducting experiments.

Within the classroom, when an educator understands the different learning styles of students, learning can be created to accommodate students with some simple adjustments, which is called the meshing hypothesis. When individual learning style preferences are accommodated through instructional teaching, academic achievement and individual attitudes towards learning improve.

Auditory, visual, and kinetic learning styles are essential concepts to aid in the educational process. Understanding that the concept of learning styles is a theory that assists with the learning process is key and that tapping into that knowledge is beneficial to the individual as well as the educator.

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