A Process Map Flow Chart Is Often Used As What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

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What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

I remember looking at math word problems as a kid and thinking none of it made sense. My dad, who was good at math, couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it. So secretly I would draw pictures of the problem and say “Lo and behold, I got it!” Later I realized that I am a visual learner and I need to “see” the problem to understand.

Some children are talkative. To process information, these students like to discuss with others. After they hear the words, they understand the information and usually remember it. We call them audio learners.

Another group learns while being active and playing games. If they can manipulate objects with their hands, they are able to grasp the concept and it soaks into their long-term memory.

Professionals have many ways of classifying different learning styles, and the process can be complex. The most widely used system, however, divides all learning styles into three basic categories: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners.

Why do you need to know your child’s learning style?

When we realize that children learn differently, we will not try to force them to learn. If parents can help, think about how much easier homework would be by using techniques that are appropriate for their child. If my dad had known that I was a visual learner, he could have shown me how to draw a picture of a problem or made a visual graph to help me understand. I would have thought that drawing was an accepted method of learning instead of being secretive about it.

Often children feel at fault if they cannot understand a problem when explained verbally. A child who needs hands-on activities becomes frustrated and unable to sit still during long essays. Their behavior is then shown to be unacceptable and a different learning style becomes a disciplinary problem. Kinesthetic learners find it difficult to meet our expectations.

Think of the difference it can make if you let teachers know about your child’s learning style at the beginning of the year. Many teachers do not have time to analyze each child’s style. They often teach according to their own particular learning style.

Children who have learned to identify and understand their own learning styles are most likely to succeed. They can use techniques that work specifically for them. I know a kid who struggled all through school. She finally reached college and was overwhelmed by college teachers who required her to take copious notes. This was not her learning style. Had to hear that information again and again. She understood this and used a tape recorder to play back the information out loud. This was her successful learning method as an audio learner.

Children may use a mix of learning styles or may dominate in one. A child with different learning styles is usually a more flexible learner. Read the characteristics of each learning style. See if you can identify your own child’s style from the descriptions below

Characteristics of visual learners (65% of the population):

  • Learns through images
  • Enjoys art and drawings
  • Read maps, charts and diagrams carefully
  • Loves mazes and puzzles
  • Use lists or outlines to organize thoughts
  • Able to find recurring patterns in information
  • Note where the information is on the page
  • Sees pictures or words in the “mind’s eye”.
  • Able to visualize the story
  • Often a good speller (they can see the word in their mind)
  • Have a vivid imagination
  • Becomes impatient or withdrawn when extensive listening is required
  • Color is important and enhances memory
  • Likes to combine things
  • Generally likes reading/writing better than math/science
  • Love doodling
  • Enjoys tracing words and pictures
  • Often accused of daydreaming in class

How can I help my visual learner?

Since mathematics is abstract, it is important to draw a picture or illustrate with a diagram.

Encourage and teach your child how to draw pictures to understand math problems. Visual children are usually very creative and able to find a good mnemonic technique to remember math vocabulary or procedures. They just need to know that this is an acceptable method.

While reading, suggest visual clues. Offer all kinds of picture books; When reading chapter books together, encourage visualization of stories and scenes at intervals. Provide a colored pen to take notes or write. Suggest writing the letters of new spelling or vocabulary words in different colors. Help them create lists or outlines of information. Suggest drawing a picture of historical information that needs to be remembered.

Characteristics of auditory learners (30% of the population):

  • Tendency to memorize and repeat ideas presented orally
  • Learns better from lectures
  • Is an excellent listener
  • Often there is a leader for the group discussion
  • Can reproduce symbols, letters or words by hearing them
  • likes to talk
  • Enjoys plays, movies
  • Concepts can be learned by listening to tapes
  • Enjoys music
  • Enjoy question/answer sessions
  • Retains the information set on rhyme
  • Find small group discussions stimulating and informative
  • You should hear the information out loud to yourself

How can I help my audio learner?

These children learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, speaking and listening to what others have to say. Talk to your child about homework and explain it to you. This strengthens education. Audio learners often benefit from reading the text aloud and using a tape recorder.

Read math problems together and break a word problem into smaller parts. Discuss what this means and talk about possible solutions. Why will this work or not? An audio learner needs this kind of interaction.

Each topic requires your child to read the information aloud and then discuss it. This may seem time consuming to parents but is the best way for audio learners to succeed. Plus it creates a close relationship. Audio learners don’t do well on their own.

Audio learners absorb information like a sponge. They can listen to stimulating educational videos and remember most of the information, especially if there is a discussion afterwards. If information must be remembered, put it in rhyme or music. Have fun!

Characteristics of kinesthetic learners (5% of the population):

  • Learning by doing, direct participation
  • Often fidgets or looks for reasons to move
  • Does not pay much attention to visual or auditory presentation
  • Something to be “done”.
  • Try things
  • Likes to handle things
  • Gesture while speaking
  • Often a poor listener
  • Responds to music through physical movement
  • Rhymes love clapping
  • Uses hand movements while sounding out words
  • Often succeeds in physical response activities

Kinesthetic/tactile children learn best by actively exploring the physical world around them, through hands-on activities. Touching things, trying them, and moving their bodies are all ways that kinesthetic children learn. They may find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration. These students have high energy. They think and learn best while moving. They often miss what is said during lectures and have trouble concentrating when asked to sit and read. These students prefer doing it rather than watching or listening. Often diagnosed as ADHD

How can I help my kinesthetic/tactile learner?

These students need many objects to work with and manipulate. Physical objects are essential, especially for math. Educational stores have plenty of materials on hand, and many teachers are happy to lend some of their educational materials to parents. For example, if you are helping your child tell time, take an old clock and let him or her turn the hand while you explain the idea.

Reading, spelling and writing are often challenging for these children. Buy letters and have the child spell out the words using something they can touch and feel. Sometimes it’s worth using a computer because they’re moving the keys. Computer math games also work well.

Clapping while reading words helps kinesthetic learners sound out words phonetically. If they forget punctuation at the end of a sentence, suggest hand signals such as a closed fist for a period, an extended hand for an exclamation point, and an extended curved arm for a question mark. Using the body, information is internalized.

Use games to reinforce learning. For addition and subtraction, play dominoes or card games. Write unfamiliar words on small cards and play “Go Fish” or “Concentration” to help with reading skills.

All children benefit

Knowing your child’s learning style is key! When you can help your child in ways that elicit positive responses, you’re setting a good tone for learning. Self-esteem increases. Your child is happier because they feel accepted for who they are. They don’t need to learn like others. They have special abilities. They are unique!

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