Walter Burke Barbe, who proposed the foundation for learning languages, identified three main learning styles that children tend to have. These learning styles include Visual, Aural, and Kinesthetic learners. Unfortunately, many classrooms conform to only one of these styles, usually the aural learning style, leaving children confused and frustrated. So how can you make it easier for your little learner at home? We cover each learning style and how you can accommodate them at home.
How Parents Can Support Their Child’s Learning Style
Visual Learners process information through the eyes. They tend to learn by memorising things by seeing them in a graphic format. Visual learners are what we call ‘spatially aware’ – they remember and take in the information mainly through their eyes. Their minds are more accurately linked to a paintbrush than photographic memory. The strength of a visual learner is their imagination, which is one of the easiest ways to spot visual learners – by the imaginative mind they possess. It’s the most accurate way to think of how a visual thinker’s mind works because it’s imaginative. That, in and of itself, is the visual part.
How to support your visual learner
You can never have enough coloured pencils, pens, paper and images for a visual learner. This is how they learn best. Anything visual media-related helps visual learners learn, for example, an iPhone, iPad or laptop computer. Listen out for queues from your visual learner like “show me” because this is how they communicate their eagerness to learn. A visual learner will watch a video or watch a slide show of facts. Their focus is on visual information, and it comes easily to them. A visual learner tends to be a great artist and loves visual arts.
An aural learner processes information via the ear and auditory channels. They learn and understand things by hearing or listening. Aural learners tend to be great at reading and memorising information and often sit quietly to listen and retain new information. Your aural learner may usually be found reading their book out loud or even talking to themselves.
How to support your aural learner
Before you start your learning activity, it’s vital to explain tasks verbally to your learner and have them summarise the points before you write everything down.
With aural learners, the adage, “The more you read, the more you know”, rings true. Encourage your child to read aloud to themselves so they can absorb information more easily. If they need to be quiet, get them to read under their breath. When trying to memorise information, aural learners do well at retaining information by repeating it out loud, over and over again. To make this process even more accessible (and fun), make up some riddles, songs and rhymes to aid aural learning.
Kinesthetic make up just 5% of the population and learn by moving and doing. They typically engage in active play during their daily activities, including their education. They like to move their bodies and take in information through touch and movement. They do this by storing away thoughts based on the actions they took. There’s no doubt that a well-designed learning environment that encourages learning through experience and discovery is the best environment for a Kinesthetic learner.
How to support your Kinesthetic Learner
When your child is engaged in a quiet, sit down activity, have a tactile toy like a stress ball available to keep them from fidgeting; this will help with their concentration. In addition, kinesthetic learners benefit from using learning tools like a whiteboard and absorb information well when using physical actions in the learning process, like using your fingers to count. Lastly, because Kinesthetic learners love being active, let them take regular breaks during quiet, focused work so they can burn off energy.
Our children are chief engineers of the future, and therefore learning styles are worth taking the time to explore and nurture. By knowing your child’s learning style and supporting them at school and home, you are investing in the future of society.