In a country like Singapore, when it comes to education, parents leave no stone unturned. They arrange expensive tuition and keep their children on tightly packed study schedules. This parental enthusiasm, however, can be detrimental when they push their children to join the rat race without understanding the child's learning style.
Children are unique in their own ways, and each is blessed with special skills and academic abilities. Discovering and capitalising on your child's learning style right from the beginning of their academic journey will help you tap into their potential, rather than subjecting them to run-of-the-mill methodologies.
This article highlights eight learning styles to help you identify which one best aligns with your child. This awareness will help you decide on the learning strategies that work best for them.
9 Common Types of Learning Styles in Children
The VARK Model
Designed and introduced in 1987 by Neil Fleming, the VARK learning style helps students and adults discover more about their individual learning styles. The VARK acronym stands for:
R-Read (and write)
According to the VARK model, a person's learning ability is identified by their individual approach to observing and processing information. The person's learning preference can be any one or more of the three:
- Visual learning through pictures, diagrams or videos.
- Auditory learning through discussions and recordings.
- Learning through reading or writing notes.
- Kinesthetic learning or learning through hands-on activities and experiments.
It is generally perceived that most children use all the styles. However, close observation reveals that they are adept at any one particular learning style. So, how will you identify your child's learning style? Read on.
1. The Visual Learner
Visual learners need to see things to understand them. These learners are identified by their proficiency in using graphs, statistical figures, pie charts, and diagrams to understand concepts.
If your child is a visual learner, train them to:
- Use highlighter pens and colour codes to mark important points.
- Use graphs, mind maps, and visual aids to simplify the process.
- Use digital aids like PowerPoint presentations, flashcards and picture charts.
- Copy important notes for revising, retaining, and recalling.
2. The Auditory Learner
An auditory learner's forte is to grasp the content and concept just by listening. They are comfortable following verbal instructions and participating in class discussions rather than putting pen to paper.
Here's how you can help your auditory learner:
- Use narration, spelling bee games, story-telling, and narration.
- Use the question-answer format to help them learn tough concepts.
- Encourage them to ask questions and voice their understanding.
- Record formulae and key definitions in your voice so they can use it for later reference.
3. Readers & Writers
Some people consider the reading/writing learner a subtype of the visual learner. These learners rely on writing notes, jotting down points, and reading articles as the most helpful and convenient learning methods.
Is your child a reader/writer? If so, you can help them by:
- Asking them to write definitions and complex answers.
- Read aloud their class notes and vital points.
- Write down difficult concepts multiple times to grasp and retain in memory.
Also Read : Reasons Why SA1 Exams Are Important in Singapore
4. Kinesthetic Learners
For kinesthetic learners, interactive, engaging, and hands-on learning is their tea. Since they learn more effectively by doing things, these learners may find it challenging to focus on more than one task at a time.
Here's how you can help your kinesthetic learner:
- Give them hands-on projects like creating mini-books and encourage them to enact skits and conduct experiments and projects.
- Provide them with aids like Abacus, drawing books, building blocks, and modelling clay.
5. The Tactile Learner
A tactile learner learns best through touch, feeling, movement, and doing. They must keep themselves occupied by keeping their hands or body busy. However, this does not mean that they are not paying attention.
To keep your tactile learner busy, you can:
- Create inventive learning methods that will keep them mentally and physically busy.
- Encourage them to enact plays or poems in English.
- Give them projects and experiments to learn instead of encouraging rote learning.
6. The Logical Learner
Logical learners are usually Math whizzes and chess champs. They are exceptionally adept at reasoning and analysing information. The best way to help these learners is by encouraging them to hone their conceptual understanding skills.
7. Intra-personal learners
Does your child prefer self-study as opposed to group study? Are they independent thinkers who like to learn something new everyday? If yes, they are an intra-personal learner in tune with their feelings and requirements.
How to help your intra-personal learner:
All these learners need is to be left alone. They can manage themselves pretty well. Moreover, they benefit a lot from journaling which helps them to connect with what they've learnt.
8. The Naturalistic Learner
As the name implies, naturalistic learners love connecting everything they learn with patterns in nature. They love animals and plants and prefer being outdoors. Do not be surprised if your naturalistic learner turns out to be a farmer or scientist.
9. The Social Learner
Social learners are the complete opposite of intra-personal learners. They love being around people and learn better with group study and teamwork. Feed their enthusiasm by encouraging them to participate in volunteering and service-oriented groups.
Why is it Important to Know Your Child's Learning Style?
Aren't you instinctively curious about your child's likes, dislikes, moods, and preferences? This question will help you understand why it is important to also understand your child's learning style.
Your child's learning style determines how their brain processes, organises, understands, and retains information. It also affects how quickly or easily they learn something new.
Knowing your child's learning style helps you devise interesting learning strategies rather than forcing them to use methods they are uncomfortable with. Recognising a child's learning style is crucial at home or school. Parents are responsible for advocating for their children and their learning styles.
Teachers are typically very tuned in to their students and strive to provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each child. Unfortunately, not many teachers and schools prioritise the child's learning style. When teachers and students face challenges with the learning material, parents can fill in the gap by offering suggestions that work for them at home.
Customise Your Child's Learning
Ultimately, it is a parental responsibility to understand and cater to your child's learning style instead of subjecting them to methods that do not work for them. You should:
- Understand your child's academic strengths and weaknesses.
- Set goals and incentives to keep them motivated.
- Provide extra support for weak subjects.
- Encourage all their learning endeavours.
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