Children (and adults) absorb information in different ways. Understanding your child's learning style will make teaching more effective and learning easier. The three basic learning modalities are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
Visual - Seeing is believing!
Visual learners learn by seeing and watching demonstrations. They benefit from organizing information in charts, graphs, diagrams, and concept maps. For example, a visual learner will understand a math concept better if he reads the problem for understanding and then writes the equation down. A visual learner will remember states and capitals better by seeing them on a map.
- Learns by seeing
- Remembers faces, forgets names
- Vivid imagination, thinks in pictures
- Distracted by movement, generally unaware of sounds
Auditory - Listen up!
Auditory learners learn through verbal instruction. They retain information better when they hear it, rather than read it for themselves. As in the examples above, an auditory learner will understand a math equation better if the process is explained to him and then he says the equation out loud, even if it's to himself, and remember the states and capitals by memorizing them in a song.
- Learns through verbal instruction
- Remembers names, forgets faces
- Thinks in sounds
- Easily distracted by sounds
Kinesthetic - Hands-on, hands down!
Kinesthetic (tactile) learners learn by doing. They benefit from hands-on activities. They love to move around and find it difficult to sit still. Likewise, a kinesthetic learner will understand a math equation better by working it out with manipulatives and remember the states and capitals easier by putting together jigsaw puzzles.
- Learns by doing
- Remembers what he/she does, not what is seen or discussed
- Imagery not important
- Distracted by sounds and movement
Confused? Watch your children for clues. When you are teaching them something new, would they prefer to see a demonstration, listen to a verbal explanation, or just try it for themselves? Want more info? There have been many assessments created to help parents determine their children's learning style. Check out these links below.
- Child Learning Style Quiz by Homeschool Views
- Find Your Child's Learning Style by Abby Margolis Newman (found on Scholastic.com)
- Multiple Intelligences by Family Education
- The VARK Questionnaire by Neil Fleming
- What's Your Learning Style? by EducationPlanner
- What's YOUR Learning Style? by the University of South Dakota
Once you have determined how your children learn best, try adapting their curriculum and your method of instruction to fit their learning styles.