Have you ever noticed that learning new things isn’t always easy? That sometimes you ‘just get it’ quickly, and other times it feels hard to learn?
We all have different ways in which we learn best.
There are four main ways in which we learn, and once we know and understand our preferred learning style, it makes learning so much easier – it doesn’t matter whether it’s learning how to make a new recipe, or to change a tyre on the car, or to master something new on the computer…
The different ways are: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic and Auditory-Digital
Visual – if this is your preferred learning style, then you need to see how it’s done. So if I’m learning to make a cake – I want to see a picture of it, to know what it will look like. If I’m learning to find my way to your house, I need to see the way on a map, not have you explain it to me – that won’t help at all! Visual learners like to see what they are learning – the shape of a word, or what happens you add water to paint.
The largest percentage of people are visual learners, approximately 60%
Auditory – These people learn by hearing – they will want your verbal directions on how to get to your place, rather than a map. They will want to hear the steps in making a cake, and don’t need a picture of it. Auditory learners can remember information by talking aloud, and may have trouble with written information or directions. (eg product manuals!)
Kinaesthetic learners need to do it. They need to actually make the cake, or embark on the journey to your house, by doing it. They need to be actively involved. They often touch or fiddle with things whilst ‘learning’.
Auditory- Digital learners are process orientated – they will hear or see the instructions and often make lists of the procedure, step by step. They are sometimes referred to as Anaytical learners. They love knowing how things work and ask questions to find out what happens next.
What does all this mean for your children?
Just like adults, children learn in different ways.
When children are little, we don’t know their preferred learning modality, so we need to provide them with a mix of all to ensure that they are catered for.
So, if you are making a cake, tell them what you are doing, let them see the recipe and then involve them in the doing. If you are teaching them to tie shoe laces – show them, talk with them, and praise them for their efforts as they practise.
So, the implications are:
When a Visual learner can’t ‘see’ what is happening they may become frustrated – imagine this child in a classroom.
An Auditory learner doesn’t always need to look at the speaker in order to learn, as their ears are taking it all in regardless. Sometimes these children may appear to be not listening, because we (the adults) assume you must have eye conact to mean that you are listening.
Kinaesthetic learners often fiddle. If your child is one, ensure they have something in their hands to play with can enhance their actual learning. In some of the adult workshops I run, I put out playdough, or pipe cleaners on the table, for the kinaesthetic learners to fiddle with.
Auditory-Digital people need access to pen and paper to jot down points or ideas, and will like lists or checklists.
You may now have a different appreciation for your child’s teacher – who has to cater for 25 children, all needing to learn the same information, but in quite different ways!
You may also notice that each of your children are different learners. Having the same genetic pool doesn’t mean they learn in the same way.
— Image by Harclade via Flickr