Learning is an essential part of the development of children; in fact, education is one of the fundamental rights of each and every child. However, school and learning are not one-size fits all, or even one and the same. The differences develop through the VARK Learning Styles that each child applies to comprehend and retain knowledge.
Education and learning experts have grouped these different learning styles into four main categories: visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. Recognizing how your child learns best can help you more effectively understand their needs. However, while every child maintains a dominant learning style, everyone assumes a slight amount of external techniques to understand the world better and become further adaptable to different environments.
Have the VARK Learning Styles caught your attention? Read on to discover what type of learner your child might be:
A visual child learns best through self-observation. These students process and understand information by watching demonstrations, reading books, looking at graphics or charts, and comparing notes to textbooks. These students will grow impatient and even lose concentration when teachers (or parents) explain material to them. For the visual learner to understand clearly, they need to visualize or create comparisons of the learning substance. Other characteristics of visual learners include:
They prefer to have pen and paper in hand to descriptively draw information or to convert explanations into artistic demonstrations. They find it valuable when informed to take notes on the main lecture points. They quickly remember observed details. For a visual learner find supplemental images to accompany presentations. Doodling while listening helps retain attention. The act of drawing keeps a visual learners' mind active and engaged contrary to beliefs that doodling is a distracting behavior.
It may be difficult to verbally explain subject matter to visual learners as they may not be able to make sense of the information. They need a tangible representation to process information. The idiom "seeing is believing" fits nicely here.
The "Easy-for-Me" multisensory reading program is an excellently designed plan that targets the needs of visual learners. It allows children to see the whole outcome before diving into details that will typically confuse them. This curriculum will certainly drive success and empower a passion to read in visual learners.
Children who learn best by listening to explanations or what other people have to say are known as auditory learners. These types of students usually prefer listening to information rather than reading it and often recite information aloud to understand it. These learners may also display the subsequent characteristics:
If information isn't explained orally to them, problems will become unnecessarily complicated and lose their true meaning. They may talk to themselves while learning new information. It has been shown that repeating information, especially while reading, supports long-term retention for all types of learners.
Many prefer working in discussion groups as opposed to working alone. They may not easily comprehend written information. Taking turns reading aloud is a great strategy to help engage these learners. It might look like your auditory learner is not paying attention to you while you are talking to them but they might truly be listening. Visual skills can develop at a much slower rate than their listening abilities creating what seems to be an apprehensive dynamic, but honestly isn't.
Learning Abled Kids has prepared a comprehensive list of activities that facilitate a constructive learning environment for auditory learners. They give strong examples of how children learn best regarding reading, writing and math. If your auditory learner needs a new project take a look at their examples.
A read/write learner needs to digest the information presented to them. Talking about the material is alright, but physical assignments and worksheets provide a much deeper value. These students will often rewrite notes into condensed packets, or reread class materials as often as possible.
To perform efficiently, a read/write learner should utilize handwritten notes, consolidated lists, and any other print related handouts. Visual content, like graphs and charts, should be translated into written data to help organize thoughts. Out of all the learning styles, the read/writers are the closest ones to a "traditional" studier. They are the ones most often found in a library or quiet study corner reading a textbook and regurgitating notes verbatim.
The Study Gurus have created a high-level, general guide to effective studying for read/write learners. If your child has struggled with studying for exams, this might be just the solution you were looking for. They have generated tasks that keep your read/write learner on task and comfortable with all new instructional material.
A Kinesthetic learner excels through hands-on activities such as touching, rewriting content, and doing projects. If this type of child is an active part of the learning process, they are at their happiest. Therefore, they will strive to be involved in most learning activities. Some of the characteristics of these types of students include:
They often talk with their hands. Hand gestures have been shown to link with speech regions in the brain and improved comprehension. They want to learn about things by investigating and touching them. Recalling the process of what happened is easiest if they performed an action or procedure rather than rote memorization
Hip Homeschooling has compiled a list of top ten resources for kinesthetic learners. There is no need to look around for multiple sources when Hip Homeschooling provides a solution for every subject. Their goal is to create fun and educational experiences for every kinesthetic learner continuously.
It is beneficial to know what type of learner your child is to encourage them to grow their strengths and tackle their areas that need improvement. But, keep in mind, both children and adults use a combination of the above-listed learning styles. There is no one size fits all; there is only a "preference" or predominant learning style in each and every person. As a parent, you should watch for the characteristics that point to your child's learning style. Identifying your child's learning style will reduce typical homework frustrations, it will enable you to structure lesson plans to help them learn more easily, and it will also increase communication with your child.
What type of learner is your child? Feel free to share with us in the comments below. If you're still not sure, watch for our more detailed blogs for each of the VARK styles in the weeks to come.
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