Every child is unique in their own way. Ranging from lifestyles, food habits to learning styles every child follows its own unique pattern which is distinctive and different from others.
In terms of learning styles, children observe, understand and analyze information in their own ways. Although much is dependent on genes, but home and school environments play a vital role in the learning and overall development of the child.
Children use every medium from touching, smelling to tasting, heariching and enquiring adults they satisfy their urge to learn. According to research, there are three prominent learning patterns:-
- The Kinaesthetic Style
- The Visual Style
- The Auditory Style.
The Kinaesthetic Style
Kinaesthetic learners make use of physical methods like touching, feeling or doing chores and prefer to use their fingers to count.
They make gestures to understand answers and clap their hands when they learn a new song. These learners have sharp hand-eye coordination are excel in sports and dancing.
The Visual Style
Visual learners are observers of the things surrounding them and they love art. Children who are visual learners like reading books and prefer learning using pictures and audio-video mediums.
The Auditory Style
Auditory learners use auditory tools to learn and retain information. They like to listen to songs, rhymes and recorded stories. They possess sharp ears and they have the capability to remember difficult dialogues.
Based on these three learning styles, a child’s primary learning style can be determined.
If your child likes to feel the subject and acquire practical experience with it then the child is a Kinaesthetic learner. Kinaesthetic learners prefer experimenting rather than reading then you can identify your child to be a kinaesthetic learner.
Also, if you observe your child role-playing with each other or dramatizing critical concepts for better understanding, then your child is a kinaesthetic learner.
These learners should be encouraged to trace a diagram on a tracing paper or make clay models of the diagrams.
If you find your child is following colors and are capable of organizing than others, then your child is a visual learner. These learners tend to draw flow charts and diagrams using different colors which tends to grab their attention.
Such learners should be taught with the help of maps, worksheets, charts or projectors. They should also be provided different coloured pens and highlighters to take notes.
If you find your child storing the information they read into audio form, or they prefer giving answers orally, then your child falls into the category of Auditory learning style.
Parents should encourage them to read out loud to record themselves so that they can go back and listen to their recordings when required.
These learners also prefer using rhymes, fun tunes or songs to understand a concept and to make their learning more fun and easy.
Parents should encourage and support these efforts to help them perform well. These learners cannot bind themselves and stick to the routine way of learning.
How to identify which learning process suits the child?
To identify the right learning process, a quick test can be conducted. For the test, follow these steps
Step 1: Randomly choose about thirty words and divide them into three sets, 10 words in each set. Against each word, write down their meanings.
Step 2: On the first day, instruct the child to learn the first 10 words and their meanings only using their eyes, they should not read it out loud. At the end of the day, take a test to find out how many words they can remember and recollect, and whether they enjoyed learning visually.
Step 3: On the second day, ask them to learn the next set of 10 words by listening, which requires someone who can speak out loudly and keep repeating the words till they say it is okay or done. Let them hear as much as possible and find out how much they remember this time.
Step 4: On the final day, hand over the third list and ask them to learn the last set of words with their meanings by enacting gestures, using hands, body or walking or listening to music.
After the test, compare the results to find out their learning process, by observing the process they are following, looking, listening, or doing. It’s necessary to identify it early and build a study routine.
Many educators believe that the learning style of a child should be a combination of all three styles and classes should be taken to children mixing all the three learning styles.
This effectively gives the children an equal opportunity to grasp all three styles and learn collectively. Getting habituated with all the three styles the child may utilize them in any situation, where and when needed.
Educators believe that the content of the lesson should be given priority over the style of learning. On the contrary, psychologists assert that lessons learnt by children in their preferred learning style help them to succeed in their learning.
According to them, children of a particular learning style develop an interest in that particular learning style. As parents, it is always advised to support and encourage whichever way the child chooses for learning.
In the initial years, it may appear difficult when the children cannot devise their own study techniques. But if started early on the process of identification, the child and the parents can realise their optimum learning techniques which can help him to prepare for tougher classes.
There are times when children may not show any interest towards any particular style, in such situations parents should be supportive and not worry about the situation.
They should be observant and friendly and talk to the child about their interest and their favourite ways to learn. Based on his reply or thoughts a study plan could be devised.
The learning process helps to keep the child organized and makes a child learn things creatively and according to his own devised ways.