What are the three types of learning styles? Do you know your own best learning style? How about your child? There are auditory learners, visual learners and kinesthetic learners. What does each learning style mean?
An auditory learner would rather listen to things being explained to them rather than reading about it. This is a child that learns best when a teacher is explaining a lesson mostly via auditory. For example, a child relies heavy on what the teacher is saying versus on the notes on the blackboard. This child can also prefer to listen to music when studying or reciting information out loud.
A visual learner is a person who learns best by looking visual charts, graphics, etc. and reading. This is a person who prefers to learn by watching a demonstration versus just listening to how it works. This is a child that benefits greatly from notes, visual reminders, visuals within notes, etc.
A kinesthetic learner is a person who learns through touch. For example, a child can learn the concept through a “hands on” experience. For example, a child can learn letters via creating letters out of play doh or wiki sticks.
When I learned about these learning styles, I was able to identify with all three! I benefit from listening to a lecture when I am at a conference but learn the best through visual charts, notes, etc. and having a hands on experience. As far as my children, I believe they are the same. So, a child may not be just one particular learning style but they can be dominant in one versus the other. As adults, we learn to adapt and develop all three learning styles pretty efficiently. For a child, this may be different.
So how does this affect your child at home and in school? As far as home, having a conversation at the table may be easier if you have some visual reminders for your child if he or she is a visual learner. For example, if your child brought home an art project, hold up the art project and show it to your child when asking questions about their day. For example, when trying to teach my children the name of our street that we live on, I found a video on youtube about windmills that had a very powerful message. From this video, they learned that we lived on Windmill Rd. If your child is an auditory learner, explaining things to them in a quiet environment with few visual distractions can be beneficial. For a child who is primarily a kinesthetic learner, providing a “hands on” experience as much as possible can be optimal. Within school, it can be a bit trickier. A teacher can have many students in the class, and it takes time for a teacher to learn all of his or her students learning styles. It is also our job as parents to help the teachers understand our child’s learning style.
Do you have a child with special needs? This can be even more complicated because there are so many factors that can affect his or her learning style. Temple Grandin (Sensory Focus Magazine, Winter 2014) discusses the effect of sensory and perceptual difficulties on learning styles. She discusses sensory overresponsivity, perceptual problems and organizing information.