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Education|10 July 2022

Help your Kids Succeed through Different Learning Styles

Currently working in Pinegrove School in Kasauli Hills, Archana Nughaal is an educationist with over 14 years of experience. Her certifications include Army Commander's Commendation, Management & Personality Development DSSC, Wellington and MBA from Utkal University.

They say, “Energy flows where the attention goes”. Children are brimming balls of energy and one cannot put a leash on them as they go on to conquer the world. Most good students aren’t born good learners. Their individual personality plays a big part in a child’s willingness to learn and their overall disposition. Moreover, the current generation simply cannot be expected to learn the same way people learned a generation ago. Every child is unique with his or her own temperament and learning style. While some love to read, others may not want to study at all. Some might be good at solving puzzles while some might be born artists.

Kids learning is an ongoing process. An enthusiastic learner has the capability to achieve much more than a forced learner. Imagine a classroom full of painters, writers, singers, scientists, mathematicians and more. Though the students seem alike when gathered together in a classroom, they possess talents and intellects as diverse as all of these professionals. We cannot rely on a single universal teaching method and expect all of them to learn in identical ways. Precisely why, Differentiated Instruction Methods is the need of the hour. It is basically an activity-driven approach to teaching. Students are directed through a subject by using a variety of projects, kids learning activities, or problem-solving exercises. As per Piaget and Vygotsky’s ideas, every child carries his or her own individuality to each new experience and is actively involved in the learning process. This method also helps them learn and retain concepts in a faster, better, and more effective manner.

Understanding the VARK Model

As per the VARK model of learning styles, there are four categories of learning: 

  1. Visual Learning
  2. Auditory Learning
  3. Reading & Writing
  4. Kinesthetic Learning

Kids’ learning can be boosted through various teaching techniques and school activities that fit their learning styles, strengths, and interests. Identifying learners based on these predominant categories and adopting apt teaching methods can ease the execution of teaching routines.  As a result, the kid learns in the most suitable way, thus making the process more organised and faster.

Visual Learners

Visual learners favour seeing information given visually rather than in writing. So the kids who will respond better to virtual activities can be understood as visual learners.

How to know if your kid is a visual learner?

  • It is vital for them to appreciate art and beauty.
  • Seeing information in their minds promotes their memory.
  • It is necessary for them to see anything to remember it.
  • They observe people’s body language.

Auditory Learners

Hearing information is the strongest way for auditory learners to grasp things. They usually are the most attentive ones during lectures and are pro at remembering what is spoken to them. 

How can you identify if your kid is an auditory learner?

  • They are often seen enjoying music.
  • Reading aloud helps them recall information
  • They would rather listen to class lectures than read from a textbook
  • Instead of looking through your class notes, they choose to listen to a recording of your class lectures or a podcast.
  • They excel at noticing sounds around them.

Reading or Writing

Students who can learn better by reading or writing prefer to take the information in the form of texts.

How can you identify if your kid is a reading or writing learner?

  • Making lists, reviewing definitions, and putting together presentations are all things they like doing.
  • Reading books is an excellent approach for them to learn new things.
  • During class and while reading textbooks, they take detailed notes.

A Kinesthetic Learner

A kinesthetic learner learns through touching and moving things. For them, hands-on experience is crucial.  

How can you identify if your kid is a kinesthetic learner?

  • Painting, cooking, mechanics, sports, or woodworking are examples of practical hobbies they excel in.
  • They appreciate occupations that require them to use things and materials directly.
  • In order to learn anything, they must practice doing it.
  • They find it challenging to sit quietly during lengthy lectures.

There are some more factors that impact kids’ learning styles, like Multiple Intelligence. It indicates that we all learn holistically but acquire distinct capacities and intelligence, which may further be developed and nurtured in each individual through tailored teaching provided through schooling. 

Identifying your kids’ learning style through multiple intelligence

Understanding different types of learning styles can drastically impact the way parents and teachers handle their children and students. Broadly there are 9 levels of intelligence, based on which you can easily identify what kind of learner your kid is.

  • Intrapersonal Intelligence – Here the kid is in sync with his/her inner feelings, values, beliefs, and thinking processes.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence – Here the kid has the capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations, and desires of others. They make good managers.
  • BodilyKinesthetic Intelligence – Here the kid can control his/her body movements and can handle objects skillfully. They are often good at sports or dancing.
  • Naturalist Intelligence – Here the kid is attracted to Mother Nature and can easily recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature.
  • Existential Intelligence – Here the kid is sensitive enough to tackle deep questions about human existence, life, death and beyond.
  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence – Here the kid can picture images and visualize accurately and abstractly. They make good painters.
  • VerbalLinguistic Intelligence – Here the kid has well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words. They make good orators.
  • MathematicalLogical Intelligence – Here the kid can think conceptually and discern logical or numerical patterns
  • Musical Intelligence – Here the kid can easily produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch, timbre, and tone. They do well in the music industry.

For example, a child who keeps whistling can be considered a nuisance in the class and the teacher might snub him for causing a disturbance. Of course, that is not a way to behave during an ongoing class, but it is clearly an indicator of his interest in music and that he is a musical learner. He might not excel in academics, but for all you know, he could be the next big thing in the music world. Hence, the cue here is to catch them early.

Similarly, visual learners learn best by absorbing all that they see and visualize. Fascinated by bright colours and patterns, you will often find them at the front of the classroom soaking up the information written on the board. They like to draw and paint, and their favourite phrase is ‘Show me’. The best way to present information to such children is by showing them the relationship between different ideas visually. Visual cues are helpful in particular as important information is highlighted and it can also help in remembering the concept. It’s rather easy to spot these types of learners in a busy classroom. Just pay attention to those who are doodling, making lists in class or diligently taking notes.  

In conclusion, don’t just limit your child with labels. Expose them to a broad spectrum of experiences. They may activate latent talents. Don’t assume your child is not gifted in an area because they haven’t shown any interest. The ultimate success lies in developing the child as a whole and instilling the love for lifelong learning. All we need to do is empower them with the freedom to explore life—take risks, make mistakes, innovate and find meaning to their existence. All they ask us is for our love, support and trust, which enables them to blossom in their life ahead.

The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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