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Knowing Your Child’s Learning Styles

In a recent post, we told you that the one-way model of learning styles is actually a myth. Learning happens on a continuum, and children (and adults) learn in more than one modality. Here is a brief overview of some of the most researched models of learning.

VARK stands for Visual, Auditory/Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic.

  1. Visual learners tend to learn through pictures, video, demonstrations and graphics. Providing a simple drawing, graphic, or video helps these students.
  2. Auditory learners learn through what they hear and what they speak. Allowing these students to not only hear information read aloud but also giving them space to repeat back what they’ve heard will help them.
  3. Read/Write is as you may suspect — learning through the written word. These students tend to absorb the information they read or write, and most internet research falls under this category, even if an article online has images with the text.
  4. Kinesthetic is something that many parents of preschoolers and kindergartners believe is their child’s learning style, but what really defines your child as a kinesthetic learner is if his hands-on approach continues as he gets older. This student learns largely by doing. Allowing him or her to practice math concepts in a real-world environment (a kitchen, for instance) may be helpful.

The 4-Type Learning Style is based on personality and temperament measures you may already be familiar with, of which the most popular measurement tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. These include:

  • Introvert/Extrovert: In a nutshell, introverts regain energy by being alone, and extroverts regain energy by being among people. Of course, these are experienced on a spectrum so we’re not all going to fall into an always/never pattern. But generally, extroverts are more willing to do group projects and engage in classroom discussion. And many, but not all, introverts tend to dislike group work and prefer to learn through books or listening to a speaker or teacher.
  • Sensing/Intuitive: This refers to how a person absorbs information. Those with sensing strength tend to take in information through what they see in the physical world. Intuitive learners have a tendency to draw knowledge from within through intuition, ideas, and potential scenarios. Sensing learners may rely heavily on data and details while intuitive learners see the big picture. But we aren’t all or nothing here — most of us have a mixture of these tendencies.
  • Thinking/Feeling: We all lean more heavily toward one of these, but that’s not to say that feelers can’t make decisions based on facts or that thinkers have no emotions. Thinkers make up their minds relying on facts, evidence, and data while those who tend toward feeling often make decisions based on how they feel.
  • Judging/Perceiving: This one is tough to remember, but it deals with being decisive and preferring order and structure (judging) or being slow to make decisions and better able to start something without knowing the entire plan (perceivers).

So how does knowing your child’s learning style help? As you help your child learn how she is wired, she can take more ownership of personal strengths and weaknesses, remembering that she is created in the image of God.

What else determines success in the learning process as our kids grow?

Believe it or not, how your child does in school isn’t the highest predictor of his or her success in life. Researcher Angela Duckworth says having a growth mindset and grit — passionate perseverance — is what sets apart those who go after their goals and keep going no matter how many times they fall. You can watch her TED Talk here.

Are you interested in helping your child fulfill his or her potential?

You can download the free e-book, “Help Your Children Develop Their Potential,” from Learnwell Collective here.

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