Albert Einstein once said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I have worked with so many students who while not labeled as stupid, since that is politically incorrect, have certainly been given less and less attention and support through their school years because they don’t fit in or conform to the system. Recognizing talent is not an easy task and teachers certainly have their hands full today as common core changes absorb them. This is where you as a parent need to make extra efforts and help find where your child’s talents and skills lie. For my daughter her talents lie in the Arts, Nature and Music. She has issues with language arts and yet she is a great speller. Her math skills seem to be average. We are coming to see that she is a Tactile learner.
The problems with reading can be frustrating (actually very frustrating!) for me, but then I keep remembering her talents and where she truly shines. To help her (and us!) deal with the troubles learning language skill we have had her tutored off and on again for the past 3 years and it has truly helped as the tutors use our input to improve our daughters skills. As parents it is important to keep remember that children process and absorb information in different ways. Some students like to see the big picture first and then learn the details and skills of each step while others can’t imagine what the big picture will be until they have learned each little step along the way.
Some students find diagrams and infographics helpful in learning information while others like to listen to the teacher’s lesson to get their facts and figures. Others like to build, measure, mix and experiment when they are learning. Knowing what your student’s learning style is will make it easier for you to present information in a format that they can relate to.
Traditionally there are three ‘basic’ learning styles. They are Visual, Auditory and Tactile.
Visual learners like their information presented in an interesting visual format so videos, pictures, charts, illustrations, mind maps, and online presentations are a great way for them to learn. Presenting information this way makes it easier for them to see how things relate to each other. Visual learners should create their own mind maps and graphics when they are studying as this will help them to remember the information and see.
These students are good listeners. They like teachers and tutors who explain, talk and read aloud. These students learn understand through a more traditional teaching method. When they are learning, auditory learners can benefit from reading aloud or listening to taped lectures and online podcasts.
These students like to learn through action. They are great with experiments, measuring, observations, field trips, building models and other physically-oriented tasks. Activity is the way to get them to remember information or learn new skills.
Most teachers try to present information in a number of different formats to accommodate the learning style of all of their students. If your student is having trouble with a subject, ask their teacher or tutor to help you ascertain their learning style and then present the information in a way that they will absorb best. The internet is a great resource tool for finding the information you need to share in a format that suits your student. There is a video, infographic and experiment you can try for just about everything.
If you are curious about your student’s learning style, take a quick online test with sites such as ID Pride or VARK. Tutors and teachers are also great at understanding learning styles and they will be able to not only help your student to understand their learning style, but to convert information into a format that they understand and accept best.