HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S STYLE OF LEARNING
Your child is unique and has a development pace of his/her own. You’ve probably heard this over and again. You’ve probably also invested a lot of your time reading innumerable materials that told you how you are to look for and accept your child’s development.
But all too often, when you’re right in the middle of it all, none of what you’ve read seems to come back to your mind to help you understand what is going on and you wish you knew just how you could simply build on your child’s pace and style of development.
In this article, we want to help you especially focus on your child’s learning development and give you a few pointers that could help you identify your child’s learning style that will help you work with your child to bring out the best in him/her in a way that best acknowledges and celebrates your child’s unique style and pace.
So let’s first go over the basics of a child’s learning behavior.
WHEN DOES A CHILD BEGIN TO LEARN?
Children learn more in the first twelve months of their life than at any other given point in their life. The first five years of a child’s life is crucial to what and how much they learn. In particular, children learn at the fastest rate in the first three years of their life.
Key to what and how much they learn is you, your interaction with your child and just how best you are able to establish a secure environment for your child. Intentional interactions with your child to encourage them explore and express themselves are crucial to their learning development. Your interactions with your child not only serve as an opportunity for your child to learn but also work as the opportunity for you to observe and learn your child’s pace and style of development. It’s simple! The more you interact, the more you observe and in turn, the better you are able to identify and encourage your child through their unique style of learning as they grow. So, identifying your child’s learning style begins much earlier that you would expect!
PLAY AND LEARNING
One of the best and most effective ways your child learns and expresses him or herself is through play. In the early months of developments, allowing your child to free play and observing his or her behavior will give you sharp insights into your child’s preferences in his or her environment. Your child’s choice of toys, for example, would indicate to you if you child has a preference for tactile, auditory or visual stimuli. Observing a pattern in your child’s preference will give you a keen insight into the kind of stimuli that is able to grab your child’s attention.
A child’s entire learning and education experience can be made so much better just by understanding what their specific learning style is.
While there are 8 different types of learners, experts have broadly classified learning styles in children into three types: Auditory learners, Visual learners and Kinesthetic learners. We will go over this in just a moment!
You might recall those play times when your child chose his or her touch-and-feel books over singing rhymes along; or you may recall those times when your child always added his or her own tune every time he or she wanted to say something; or you may still recall those times when your child would just simply sit and observe what you were doing. Those moments, right there, were your indicators of your child’s preferred style of learning.
POINTERS THAT INDICATE TO YOU YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
If you are one whose memories are filled with instances when your child hummed him or herself while communicating to you, or if you have always known your child to have a strong way with words, then your child is one who falls into the category of ‘auditory learners’.
For auditory learners, you will notice that they have an inclination to sound. They may show an aptitude for music which could be seen in their interest in playing musical instruments or in singing. They have strong listening skills and verbal strengths. They do well in following oral instructions.
Children with an auditory learning style are more likely than others to notice sounds in his or her environment which may not be distinct and may often go unnoticed by another with a different learning style. Children with this style of learning are also more interested in being involved in conversations and being spoken to.
Some of the pointers which indicate that a child possess an auditory style of learning include:
- A tendency to read or talk aloud which helps them better able to remember information
- Aptitude in playing musical instruments, music and vocal activities
- Possess a strong ability to listen and follow verbal instructions
- Enjoy discussions and conversations
- Possess a sharp tendency to notice sounds that others would not
- Tendency to express oneself clearly through the use of words
If you have a child whom you have often noticed to have a strong sense of observation or has shown particular interest in art or pictures or any images, then your child belongs to the category of visual learners.
Visual learners show a keen observation of their surroundings. They learn best simply through watching. These are the type of learners who enjoy sights, paintings, graphic representations, etc.
Children with a visual learning style are more likely to possess vivid memory and learn best through writing what they’ve learnt. They are more interested in seeing and writing while being instructed on something.
Some of the pointers which indicate that a child possess a visual learning style include:
- Highly imaginative
- More likely to use paper and pens to better understand and express themselves
- Tendency to doodle while listening
- Possess a good sense of direction and understanding of maps
- Tendency to be avid readers
- Keen memory of people, places and faces
- Inclination to art forms such as painting, crafts, etc
Your child belongs to the category of kinesthetic learners, if you have noticed your child to be one who chooses to touch and feel over relying on auditory or visual stimuli. Your child is likely to possess a tendency for a strong sense of balance and is likely to display a natural inclination to sports and/or dance activities.
Children belonging to the category of kinesthetic learners show an interest to be involved in an activity and prefer to have hands-on experience. They have a tendency to use a lot of gestures and movement and like to move around.
Some of the pointers which indicate that a child is a kinesthetic leaner include:
- Prefer to touch things to be able to learn
- Possess a tendency to recall incidents in terms of behaviours displayed rather the words spoken
- Possess a tendency to fidget when seated
- Possess a tendency to move around
- More likely to enjoy physical activity rather that merely listening
- Tendency to possess strong eye-hand coordination
- Possess an aptitude in dance, sports or any other activities which require physical movement
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
Identifying your child’s style of learning, especially equips you to help your child learn more effectively by employing ways that involve your child’s unique style. For example, if your child is an kinesthetic learner and is in a school environment which primarily follows a visual style of teaching, he or she may not be able to effectively grasp all that’s being taught. By identifying your child’s unique style of learning, you will then be able to engage your kids in relevant activities which cater to his or her style of learning in order to help him or her better understand what was taught at school.
When you know your child’s learning style you would also be better able to channel your child’s energy to those activities that would interest your child wherein he or she would be able to perform well.
Identifying your child’s style of learning does not happen overnight and calls for intentional interactions and keen observation of your child’s behavior at work and play.