Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YES, It Can Be A Matter Of Learning Style

"If only they would understand that my child learns best when..." a statement I often hear when parents speak of the difficulties their child may be having in school. YES, it can be a matter of learning style. Understanding a child's learning style, and helping the child to understand his/her preferred learning style can mark the difference between successful teaching and learning and ineffective teaching and learning.

I would venture to say, from the hundreds of students I have had the pleasure of teaching over the last three decades, children have a mix of learning styles. Appreciating the varied learning styles and their mix, along with understanding multiple intelligences, will allow parents and educators to be increasingly effective in their presentations to learners of all types and all ages.

Research, using brain-imaging technologies, has shown that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more parts of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn. Presentations of information, concepts, exploration, discovery, that tap into the multiple sensory modalities of the learner, will necessarily result in greater understanding, integration and application of the learned material.

Some children will insist, 'show me', others 'let me do it', 'tell me again,' 'why,' 'how,' 'when.' Each query to a presentation is a clue as to the way a child may be processing the presentation.

Visual ~ using spatial intelligence, pictures, images, and spatial awareness.
Aural ~ using auditory-musical intelligence, sound, rhyme, and music.
Verbal ~ using linguistic intelligence, words, speech, reading and writing.
Physical ~ using kinesthetic intelligence, one's body, hands and sense of touch.
Logical ~ using mathematical intelligence, logic, reasoning and systems.
Social ~ using interpersonal intelligence, learn by groups or with other students.
Solitary ~ using intrapersonal intelligence, may prefer to work alone, experiment/discover on own and use self-study and self-awareness.

I have found that once a presentation, facilitates a child to become aware of what 'works' for him/her, the child gains confidence in himself/herself as a learner. The child becomes newly motivated to meet the challenge and call for mastery, be it to improve reading comprehension, math-fact retention, spelling, writing, or test preparation.

Tutorials are to be more than mere repetition of unlearned material. APOGEE Learning Enhancement Training Systems™, in its creative and effective supports, applies the understanding of multiple intelligences and learning style to each child's tutorial/learning program.

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  1. I remember when I was younger I couldn't understand what the addition, multiplication, and subtraction symbols did I just didn't get it, but then one day a teacher put a small box of math blocks on the table and spoke the words whilst using the blocks and the penny dropped straight away, I was very happy indeed to finally understand it ;)

  2. Dear strawberryelohist. Thank you for your comment and your willingness to share your personal experience. You are far from being alone in that initial confusion. Many children are in need of such demonstration. It is not a matter of being smart or not being smart - YES, it can be a matter of learning style...;-) Much of the language of math is far too abstract for many children. However, when coupled with 'how it works' and 'what it does' in their world of action and doing, confusion is abated and learning takes place just as you described.