Whilst educators have been familiar with the idea that children have different learning styles, as parents we may not be aware that our child learns in a particular way. Taking the time to understand how your child learns will be a positive first step in relieving frustration and tension around school and homework.
You may have found it challenging and difficult to help your child with their homework, eventually either giving up or passing it to someone else to do. Though every approach can be different there are three learning styles I wanted to highlight that can help you decipher not only your child’s learning style, but your own. This may be useful because frustrations can be caused by the clash of two very different approaches to learning.
How do I learn?
In general there are three basic learning styles: auditory, kinesthetic, and visual.
Auditory learners have a preference to learn through listening and may learn best by reading aloud rather than reading on its own. They may want to have some music on in the background, or need silence to study best.
Kinaesthetic learners like to learn by doing an activity which uses their sense of touch as well as doing. This may make it difficult for them to sit still while learning.
Visual learners take in information by reading, looking at images, or watching something being shown to them. Children with this learning style may grow impatient listening to an explanation.
There is no single learning style, but your child may display a preference or dominance for one over the other. A useful first step is to reflect on your learning style and notice when and where you learn the best. It may be that in certain environments you use just one of a combination of two.
Armed with this information you are better placed to know what to do to improve their understanding of a subject, or help them with homework.
This then leaves the question, how can I work out which learning style they are currently using?
You can begin by asking some of the questions below.
- What is your favourite lesson?
- Why do you particularly like this lesson?
- How do you learn best?
- What do you find difficult in lessons?
These will give you some idea as to what your child is enjoying and how they are enjoying it. With your tuned-in approach, you can begin to get an idea of what’s working for them or not. Whilst these aren’t definitive they are a good starting point.
Something else to consider
If those are too direct, you might consider the following statements and see whether they are true for your child; these will give an indication of their learning style.
- I enjoy writing on my own. – Auditory
- I like to learn particularly by using my hands. – Kinaesthetic
- I enjoy sharing ideas and understand best when I can talk things through – Auditory
- I enjoy copying things down and then repeat them until I know the facts. – Visual
- I tend to remember facts best by drawing them out or visualising them in my head. –Visual
- I enjoy doing problems with apparatus, e.g.: building using cubes etc. – Kinaesthetic
- I like doing calculations/sums on paper. – Visual
- I tend to get fidgety when the teacher talks for too long in lessons. – Kinaesthetic/Visual
- I enjoy lessons that have a mixture of writing and practical tasks – Kinaesthetic/Visual
- I like listening to the teacher talk. – Auditory
- I like to work on my own. – Auditory
I hope from this that you have enough information to try some different approaches and go and discover what works best for you and your child.
As a final note, it may be beneficial to share whatever you find out with their teacher or school. Often educators welcome improving how they connect with a child.
Leave a comment, thought or feedback and let me know if these approaches have worked for you.
This article had some feedback after it was initially published raising the concern of generalising children’s learning styles and that the idea was a myth. So in order to acknowledge the concern, this is a link to an articulate and well written piece regarding the cautions around generalising or believing in learning styles.
If anything the area that requires further insight is the training the author originally received as that would appear to contribute to a poor execution of this tool.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think.