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Lessons in Learning - What’s Your Child’s Learning Style?

We all learn in different ways, but most people identify with one of four learning styles. Identifying your child’s learning style helps you to not only better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses, but also to introduce methods that help aid their learning.

Auditory

If your child is an auditory learner, they likely:

• follow oral instructions well
• frequently read aloud
• concentrate better when listening to white noise or music
• enjoy music
• hum or sing songs when playing
• enjoy chatting with friends

Approximately 10 per cent of children are auditory learners, which means they learn best when information is presented orally. There are several methods to help increase understanding in auditory learners. When studying, try singing information in a song or create word associations to aid memory. You can also encourage your child to read the information aloud and, if available, record this reading to be played back at a later time.

Kinesthetic

Characteristics of kinesthetic learners include:

• enjoys physical activities and sports
• have difficulty sitting still for an extended amount of time
• performs well in art and drama
• enjoys trying new things
• well-coordinated and works well with hands

Kinesthetic learners learn best when engaged through movement. As mentioned, kinesthetic learners often have trouble sitting still for long periods of time. In addition to taking breaks, allow your child to move while studying. Try having them bounce a ball against a wall, for example, while answering questions. Allow your child to act out stories or create a dance about science cycles to help increase understanding.

Visual learner

If your child is a visual learner, they may:

• be very color-orientated
• notice small details
• have difficulty concentrating in noisy environments
• tune out during long lectures with no visual aids
• be able to create a mental image easily when reading
• enjoy drawing and making lists

Organizing information in a visual way helps visual learners understand and absorb information. Using colors and underlining notes can help with organization and understanding. These types of learners perform well when information is presented in diagrams or drawings, so try to incorporate these when your child is having difficulty understanding a concept - or search for an online video to illustrate the concept. Keep in mind that visual learners often need a quiet place to study, and try to avoid yelling to your child across the house - visual learners need face-to-face communication.

Tactile

Tactile learners typically:

• enjoy using hands to feel and touch objects
• have difficulty understanding abstract objects
• enjoy playing with manipulatives, such as blocks
• learn well from demonstrations
• are very physically affectionate

Tactile learners often need to feel something in order to understand it. Therefore, manipulatives can be used to
enhance learning, such as maps, models or an abacus. When possible, hands-on activities such as science experiments or games can help increase understanding. Tactile learners can also benefit from writing out information or tracing figures. Building, drawing and creating maps are other ways to aid understanding in tactile learners.

Janelle is a freelance writer and psychology student based in Delta, BC.

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