Every child is unique. They have their own interests, likes, dislikes, and talents. Put a group of kids together in a classroom, and it becomes easy to notice which students are engaged and happy to learn and those who seem disinterested, frustrated, or bored. This may have to do with how a lesson is presented and whether it fits with a child’s individual way of learning. Here are some ways to determine your child’s learning style.
What Are the Three Main Learning Styles?
While every child is different, learning styles tend to fall broadly into three categories: kinesthetic (physical), visual, or auditory. Observing your child’s behavior can give you a clue as to the most effective way to help them learn and to help their teachers reach them.
These kids are physically active! They love to play sports, dance and engage in play that involves using their hands and bodies to move things around. They might like molding clay or building sandcastles, and they might fidget when asked to be still.
As more schools adopt curricula that emphasize STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, and math), kinesthetic learners will have many opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning that addresses their need for physical involvement. Performing experiments, solving math manipulatives, building model airplanes or bridges, or using laptops or tablet computers to develop simple apps may ignite your child’s motivation to learn. If your child exhibits traits of a kinesthetic learner, talk to their teachers about making lessons more hands-on.
Children who love music, sing-alongs, and stories read aloud may be auditory learners. They love to talk and are good at following verbal instructions.
Auditory kids may bristle if placed under a lot of pressure to take notes or read silently to themselves. Foster their interest in music with lessons and ask teachers to offer the opportunity to read aloud in small groups or even to the whole class. If a teacher is reluctant to forego a “note-taking” requirement, ask them to allow your child to make a verbal report of what they’ve learned first. The note-taking will come once the student has had the chance to process the information they heard.
These kids respond to pictures! Some children with autism spectrum disorders are particularly dependent on visual information, using simple pictures that depict words, emotions, or needs to communicate.
Visual learners may be interested in making art, taking photos, or watching videos over reading or listening to verbal instructions. They’ll show more interest in illustrations than text in books. Given the overwhelming variety of videos available online, help your child find age-appropriate visual depictions related to the lessons they’re working on.
Educators are attuned to different learning styles, but they also must get through the required curriculum and teach a roomful of children with differing needs. They’ll appreciate your insights that help identify your child’s learning style and any suggestions you may have about how to help your child get as much as possible out of their classes.