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Elementary: Learning Styles

by Ronald A. Rowe | June 5th, 2013 | Elementary

schoolkidsResearchers say that our learning style is hardwired into our DNA … somehow.† No one knows for sure quite how it works but it appears that each of us is born with one of three† distinct learning styles — Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic.† The styles are apparent from as early as six months so environment is not a factor.† There is no correlation between the styles of parents and their offspring (two Visual parents are not more statistically likely to have a Visual baby than either other type) so heredity is out.

Just because no one actually understands the mechanism by which we are assigned our learning style, experts generally agree that we each have one primary style and that it is with us from cradle to grave.† Identifying your childís style — and your own — is an important tool in our parenting toolbox.

Visual learners, as the name implies, learn by seeing.† They want to be shown what to do.† Visual learners are generally neat.† They will look you in the eyes when you speak; in fact, they need to look at you when you speak to fully process what you are saying.

Auditory learners put more emphasis on hearing.† They may not look you in the eye when you are speaking to them.† An auditory learnerís natural inclination may be to cock his / her head sideways to give you the full power of his / her hearing.† Auditory learners, like my 12-year-old, have little inclination toward fashion.† Matching clothes means everything is in the same color family, like army green pants with a lime green shirt.† Auditory learners often seek out more details than either of the other two types.

Kinesthetic learners learn by touching and doing.† Kinesthetic learning is the least common learning type and has historically been written off as a learning disability or behavioral problems.† Kinesthetic learners tend to have trouble sitting still.† You can tell them how to do something or show them how to do something, but until they get in there and do it for themselves they really donít quite get it.

Understanding your childís learning type will help you communicate to them better.† It is also important that you identify your own type.† We all communicate based on or own style.† A Visual parent trying to teach his / her Kinesthetic child will encounter some frustration unless you understand and adapt to the different in styles.

Take the time to learn your style and and that of each of your children.† It doesnít take very long to identify each individualís style.† If you have trouble recognizing your own style, ask your spouse or close friend.† It is often easier to see the signs in others than in yourself.† Once you recognize each of your styles you will be better able to communicate within your family.

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