Do you want to be better at helping your child learn?
As parents and teachers, this is our common goal. Maybe it includes:
- Helping with homework
- One-on-one tutoring
- Building areas of strength
To help in any of these areas, we have to know our child as an individual. A simple way to do that is to identify his or her primary learning style.
The goal isn’t to pigeonhole students, but to be better equipped to help them learn. It’s all about finding out what works for each child.
You can use your child’s learning style as a key, unlocking new methods to support her process of studying and remembering.
And once you understand the concept of learning styles, you can keep experimenting with the category of methods that works best for your student.
Maybe your child is strong in two areas (this is called “multimodal learning”). Or maybe she’ll have one mode that is especially difficult for her to connect with. Knowing this will help you help her.
So, what are the four learning styles?
When educators refer to learning styles, there are a couple of different theories they may be referencing, but the more popular theory is the four VARK modalities, first described in 1992. VARK is an acronym that stands for Visual, Auditory, Read-Write, and Kinesthetic.
Let’s break down each style in a little more detail.
Visual learners best retain knowledge based on what they see. They tend to enjoy art, pictures, and diagrams. They may have difficulty following verbal instructions (as opposed to written instructions). They would rather read and write than listen.
Best study tools: Pictures, color, charts, and mindmapping
Naturally, auditory learners learn best by hearing information presented orally. They usually enjoy music and reading aloud, and they are good at following verbal directions. They like to have things explained to them and enjoy discussions and conversation.
Best study tools: Reading out loud, reviewing out loud, study groups, audio books
Anything based on text, i.e. the written word, is the preference for this learning style. They fit traditional methods of learning very well, and they enjoy notes, lists, handouts, and of course, books.
Best study tools: Bullet points, rewriting information, reading to themselves, quiet learning environment
Finally, kinesthetic learners enjoy tactile involvement with their education. They would prefer to take action rather than theorize. These students often won’t like sitting still, and like a visual or read-write learner, might channel their energy into doodling or note-taking.
Best study tools: Experiments, learning games, flash cards, real-life examples
We each learn in our own unique way, but if you have hints that your child prefers one mode over the other, this is a wonderful way to connect with her learning process and help develop her most beneficial study strategies.
Here are three resources to give you more ideas: