As long as there have been teachers and students, we’ve known that not every student learns in the same manner. Everyone processes and stores information differently, and those differences aren’t always minor. Knowing your own learning needs, or those of your child, can be very vital to an education.
There are three basic kinds of learners that are broadly recognized. Auditory learners like explanatory lectures and discussion. Kinesthetic learners need to handle the subject matter, to be able to experiment and move. The simple act of writing things down can help them a great deal. Visual learners need text, graphics, and demonstrations they can watch.
Few people fit purely into any of these categories, and there are really more categories these, but most people do lean a good bit in one or another of these three directions. Knowing in which style your student is inclined can do so much to let you help them.
If you have an Auditory Learner: Ask them to repeat important information back to you. Use word associations. Set them up with others to discuss what they’re all learning. Let them use audio-books, if that’s practical.
If you have a Kinesthetic Learner: Encourage them to take detailed notes. Let them fidget while studying. Encourage highlighting and underlining. Use hands-on activities like model-building and art to reinforce lessons.
If you have a Visual Learner: Use flash cards. Include charts, tables, and maps in lessons. Color-code information. Set up time specifically for reviewing study notes.
Being caught up on your child’s learning style can help you make sure that they are getting the most out of their education. Talk to your teacher about making sure their classes are including strategies for their learning style. Whichever way they lean, they won’t be the only one in a classroom to do so, so you should have little resistance. Being aware of what your kid wants and needs in their education is your responsibility as a parent, and the rewards will manifest in fewer homework struggles, better grades, and a closer relationship with your child.