Your Child's Learning Style
Q. My son just will not listen. He
has never sat still long enough to listen. His teachers have complained more
and more that he tends to hum in class and is too impulsive and spontaneous.
What can we do about this?
and enjoy! You don't have a problem child. You have a visual/kinesthetic
learner who is an abstract thinker with random ordering, thinks globally and
loves music. That's no joke: each one of us has a different way of perceiving
the world, and they're all OK.
becomes a clash is when a child's learning style is different from a parent's
or a teacher's, and the adult refuses to adjust enough to help the child
succeed. That doesn't mean you should ignore your child's tendency not to
listen; instead, understand it, and help him - and his teachers - make the
minor adjustments that are necessary to bring him success.
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias defines the various learning styles in these terms:
Concrete thinker: uses the five senses to
. . .
Abstract thinker: uses intuition,
intellect and imagination.
. . .
Sequential ordering: organizes information
in a logical, step-by-step manner
. . .
Random ordering: organizes information
by chunks, and can get the right answer or finish a task without seeming to
have a plan or following a protocol
Tobias contends that there are four basic learning styles, based on these
traits, and they guide what the person does best, what makes the most sense to
them, what's hard for them, what stresses them out, and what kinds of questions
they ask while learning.
are three more styles that she has identified, that you should consider:
Visual learners: seeing, reading,
Auditory learners: listening, speaking.
Kinesthetic learners: physical participation
in a task, body in motion.
learners are often accused of not listening and/or daydreaming in class, but
they probably are just trying to get a mental picture of what's being said.
Auditory learners might be criticized for talking in class, but they have a
strong connection to learning by sound and often need to talk through a problem
in order to solve it. Kinesthetic learners may be accused of being "fidgety"
but they have to have some kind of action going on in order to make knowledge
last, we tend more toward one or the other of these styles:
Analytic learner - details, facts,
focus, organization, specifics, one thing at a time.
Global learner - big picture, gist,
overall idea, relationships, cooperation, multitasking
also are these ways to be smart, defined as "learning styles" although each of
us has a little bit of all of them:
Linguistic - writing, reading,
Logical-Mathematical - numbers, patterns,
Spatial - map-reading, puzzles,
think in pictures, able to restructure an object or situation mentally
Musical - rhythm, melody,
Bodily-Kinesthetic - physical activity,
hands-on skills, acting, sports
Interpersonal - understanding, appreciating
and getting along with others
Intrapersonal - self-awareness,
enjoying solitude, reflection, self-esteem
are some of the strategies the author suggests for a learner like your son:
Encourage him to take notes or doodle while listening.
Save the humming for times when he won't distract others, but
teach him how to study for a test by making songs and raps with the
information, to take advantage of his musical intelligence.
Show him how to underline or highlight facts in books or in his
notes so that he can "draw his own picture" to link to important things to know
and keep his hands busy!
Take frequent breaks while studying.
the book, The Way They Learn: How to
Discover and Teach to Your Child's Strengths, by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.