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Recognizing and Supporting Your Child’s Learning Style

People have different styles of learning and by learning to recognize your child’s learning style, you can help set them up for a successful education. By doing this, you can ensure that they’ll be prepared whether they’re on a job or off.

Your own learning style will have an important part to play in your role as a parent as well. If you and your child share the same learning style, this can make it easier for you to help them learn. On the other hand, if you have a different style, it may be more challenging initially, but can be helpful for both you and your child in the long run.

There are three distinct learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

You may be able to learn in a variety of ways and absorb information in all three ways, but you likely have one preferred learning style. Of course preferred doesn’t mean it’s a conscious choice, but it’s still your strong suit and similar to being right or left-handed. No learning style is inherently better, but they are different and sometimes you have to make accommodations in order to deal with your natural tendencies.

By recognizing your child’s learning style, you can help them with some simple tools that’ll help them remember the important lessons. Without this understanding, a child may feel like they’re dumb or that they can’t learn. This can be especially true if their style is different from everyone else’s in the family.

So what do these learning styles mean?

Auditory learners gather and retain information well by listening to it. These learners may excel in lecture halls and may enjoy audio books. They may be able to hear something one time and recite it or play a musical instrument by ear. As your child advances in school and in their career, more and more information is likely received an auditory way, so this is a good skill for them to adapt to, even if it’s not their preferred learning style.

The auditory learner may talk to themselves or read aloud. They may even move their lips when reading.

Visual learners predominantly take in information using their eyes. They may be voracious readers, for example. They may watch others perform tasks and then seem to be able to do the same task with very little effort. A visual learner may struggle in a lecture hall, but excel when taught via videos.

Kinesthetic learners are tactile people. They use their hands and their bodies to gather information. They may write things down, often over and over, inducing a muscle memory to ingrain something into their minds. These people tend to learn by physically doing the process.

Helping your child learn:

If your child is an auditory learner, it may be helpful for them to have a recording device. Whether they use an old-fashioned tape recorder or a new pen that records the words while they’re taking notes, the ability to play the words back can help your child retain information. It can also be helpful to tell your auditory learner what they will learn, then teach it, and then summarize it again.

Getting your child to participate is important for auditory learners. They’ll remember more if they’re allowed to talk rather than forced to sit quietly. Let them ask questions orally. Include interactive Q&A.

Some visual learners respond well with language -- either in written form or in a video format. Other visual learners are less cued into words and are more spatially oriented. These learners do well with charts, graphs, and films that include action rather than merely a video of a lecture.

Visual learners generally like to take notes because it gives them something to look at later. Handouts can be helpful as it allows for this style of learner to look at the information rather than relying on hearing it. A visual learner can be aided in remembering things if they’re encouraged to use their imagination. In their imagination, they can visualize the subject, thereby anchoring it in their mind.

On the other hand, kinesthetic learners really need to touch things and move their bodies. Without some external stimulation, they often become bored and distracted. Letting these learners use their bodies can help them a great deal. This can be anything from highlighting texts to doodling; some may even need to get moving while learning. Something as simple rolling a ball in their hands while listening to a lecture can help a kinesthetic learner.

While you want to recognize how your child learns, you don’t want to fall into a trap of assuming that how they learn is the same as what they’ll learn or be good at. Just because your child is an auditory learner, it doesn’t mean they’ll become a musician for example. Or if your child is a kinesthetic learner, don’t assume they’ll become laborer who works with their hands. Your child can become anything they want, no matter their learning style. They may just get there in a way that’s different than what you would’ve anticipated.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

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