Each one of us learns in our own unique way. The different ways people learn are called learning styles. These are the way our brains interpret and understand the outside world and are usually something we have little control over. We can, however, work to develop them once we know what our individual style is. An effective tutor is able to assess a student’s learning style and develop intervention and remedial work that takes advantage of their strengths and supports their weaknesses.
There are three primary learning styles known as V.A.K – Visual Auditory and Kinaesthetic. These styles are also referred to as kinds of intelligence and include ways of learning such as logical/mathematical, verbal/linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical/rhythmic, and naturalistic. No one style is more correct than another as each once has advantages and disadvantages. The key thing to remember is that a child’s learning style is their strength, promoting this type of learning with them is the best way to increase their knowledge and develop their skills and understanding.
Here are the three key learning styles, their characteristics and ways in which you can integrate them into your child’s educational development.
These children learn through seeing. What they enjoy in an educational environment the best are facial expressions, diagrams, pictographs, moving images such as film, photographs and stylised formatting of information such as that found in infographics. As these types of learners tend to think in pictures their ability to connect with information through images is integral. Opportunities for them to mind-map new information, give presentations pictorially or use their imagination to create new representations of information will aid in their understanding.
Children who learn primarily through auditory means take in information by listening. They enjoy verbally communicating with their peers and teachers. Their ideal environment includes debates, recordings, anecdotes as well as musical or rhythmical based information. To develop their engagement these children should be involved in group discussions, recording their ideas onto a camera or voice recorder, talking out loud as they write notes and asking plenty of questions of their teacher.
These students learn by touching and doing. This type of learner cherishes being physically involved with new information. They enjoy a selection of hands-on type learning activities such as group play, acting out a story or using tangible objects or models to help explain new ideas. Using resources such as MAB blocks in numeracy, ABC lines in literacy or globes in geography will support their physical needs as kinaesthetic learners. PE or games could also be incorporated to enhance their learning. Additionally these learners could be helped by engaging in outdoor observations, building their own models and creating resources with the use of tactile materials such as play dough, paper or paddle-pop sticks.
To find out your child’s learning style there are multiple resources online you can use. Alternatively engaging the services of a professional tutor will also help you to identify and address their way of learning and therefore maximise their learning potential.