Different Thinking Styles

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Favourite Thinking Style

After about ten years of teaching I learned that some people think in pictures, some in sound and others in feelings. That isn't to say we don't do a bit of each but we each have our own favourite way of thinking. I wish someone had told me this when I was doing my teacher training as it would have saved me a lot of heart ache both inside and outside of the classroom.

Getting Through to Someone

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and it was as if the person you were talking to was speaking a different language? Have you ever felt that there is no getting through to this person? I think we have all had the experience and felt the frustration of not being understood. Well there is a reason for this and that is the person you are trying to get through to has probably got a different thinking style to yours.

The three styles of thinking that have been identified are Visual (pictures), Aural (sounds) and Kinaesthetic (feelings). If you think in pictures then you would have liked your teacher to have drawn more diagrams when explaining something. If you think more in sound then all you wanted was to be told and you probably found the pictures a distraction. If you thought with feelings then you would have wanted to learn by touching the things you were being taught.

Thinking Style and Learning

Most teachers tend to think visually or aurally and that is why the students who also think visually or aurally tend to do better academically in school. The children who think kinaesthetically are often the trouble makers and the ones who tend to fail academically. They are the least understood because few teachers can speak their language. They tend to think they are not as clever as everyone else and never realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They just need a teacher with the same thinking style to teach them.

How to Check Thinking Style

There is a very simple test you can perform to check how you predominantly think and it involves eye movement. Simply ask a question that requires the child to remember something and note the eye movement. If the eyes look up when thinking then the child is more than likely a visual thinker. If the eyes look to the ears then the child probably an aural thinker. If the child looks downwards then you can bet the child is a kinaesthetic thinker.

This simple test will explain why perhaps you have not been able to get through to your spouse so easily all these years. There are also indicators in the words people use to communicate. e.g. In order to convey understanding a visual person might say “I see” and an aural person may say “I hear you.” Being aware of how other people think will help you to choose your words and expression to suit them so that you are better understood and more able to build rapport.

Slow Learners or Ineffective Communication

As a teacher I could never understand why only a fraction of the class understood what I had said though everyone in the room definitely spoke the same language. Even after explaining the same thing a number of times there were always students who just didn't get it. The easy way out would have been to label those children as slow and that is what often happens. It was only years later when I realised that speaking the same language wasn't enough to be an effective teacher I had to also think the same language. It seems so obvious to me now but but it wasn't obvious then and I am sure there are many teachers who still have not yet discovered that their thinking may not be matching the thinking of the children in front of them and it is not that they are bad teachers or the children are lacking in intelligence but that seeing, hearing and feeling are very different languages in the world of thought.

New Way of Matching Teachers and Students

Instead of children being put in classes based on test scores I would much prefer to see children who are failing and losing confidence to be placed in classes with teachers who think the same language.

Children rise and fall to the expectations of their parents and teachers. Sometimes the labels we place on our children do not belong to them and are based on information that we have falsely interpreted.

Were you falsely labelled as a child? Have you ever falsely labelled a child? What can you do to correct the false labelling of our children and educate teachers and parents to be aware of the different styles of thinking and how thinking styles can affect learning?

VAK

I highly recommend that you watch the following 4 minute video by Brian Walsh PhD

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Comments 33 comments

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

An informative hub silent whisperer.

No wonder our planet has so many entrepreneurs 'cause of the different thinking styles ;-)


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

I was exposed to this during my courses in psychology. It really should be utilized and put to use in our schools today.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Ruchira, entrepreneurs don't need good grades at school. Many of the greats were no good at school.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you A.A.Zavala, I don't know why this informations isn't applied more widely.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Spirit Whisperer: there are "some" who have had formal education and many did not. Thus, the above comment!


marellen 5 years ago

Very useful and informative hub. Thanks for sharing. This explains learning abilities with my children....


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you marellen, I am glad you found it useful. Your comment is intriguing and I would love to know what you mean.


CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

Thanks Spirit, for such an informative hub. I want to share it with my children who are in college especially my son who was diagnosed with ADHD and took medicine for many years. You are so inspiring and I wish I had been in your classes years ago. I am a late bloomer in education, and I enjoy all this new information that you are sharing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is very interesting and educiational. I have a Grandchild who was diagnosed with autism, yet he is very bright. He has a scientific mind, everything he talks about is connected to outerspace or something related. I wonder about him, how he will fit in. When i talk to him, i can't keep up with his explaination of the universe. Thank you for sharing knowledge. I appreciate you..


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Tina. I have always been of the opinion that labels early on in life especially those that limit do not serve a child.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you always exploring, from what you say you are a person who does not allow labels that other people have put on your grandchild to colour your view of him.


alastar packer 5 years ago

Spirit we tried the eye test and afterwords every one agreed that's the way they'd been in school plus now more or less; except for one cheater who tried to claim two thinking styles. The eye test was spot on. What a great article Irish: you put out here important info, new info and even through in some fun. I'll get to your request ASAP and might have a pleasant surprise for my friend in the Isle of Wight soon.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Alastar I really do appreciate you taking the time not just to comment but to actually do the test with your friends. It is a very useful tool and I would like to see more teachers and parents use it. You have me intrigued now with regard to the surprise. BTW we live in the Isle of Man. I'll forgive you Dixie for that typo.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

HaHa! Irish that's the right one anyway and lets just say its about an unusual occurrence that happened there in the past. If you guess it please keep mum! Might be a couple days but its gonna be dedicated to someone...:D

Will try to get to your request today and am gonna find Micheal Collins somewhere with-out having to get Netflix(no time hardly) say hello to Mary and that was a great article of hers on 'Footprints.'


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

I can't wait. I am also dying to hear what you think of Michael Collins. It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck every time I watch it. My grandfather fought for him in the civil war. The book about him called "The Big Fellow" by Frank O'Connor does more justice however to this great character from Irish history than any movie ever will.

I will convey your message to Mary and I hope you have a great weekend.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..well I constantly learning from you and your writing and your thoughts - they have inspired my own writing and that is the true essence and spirit of HUBPAGES where we can share ideas and invent new ones.

I sincerely hope all is well with you and your family on this weekend.

lake erie time sunday evening 9:23pm


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you epigramman, yes indeed, we can all learn from each other and I am glad you found this hub useful.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

I had always heard tactile learning instead of kinesthetic. I had heard of kinesthetic memory which athletes often have and I experienced when re-learning piano as an adult. It was as if my fingers remembered a recital piece I had learned as a child. I would play along very conscious of the notes I was reading and my finger movements, when at times my fingers would move automatically to the next key before I read the note.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you kimh039 for taking the time to read this and I appreciate your comment to explain further the tactile or kinaesthetic learning style.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A very interesting and well presented hub,and here's to many more to share.

I vote up here.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

I had been researching the question of how people think. But basically from a different angle. I was wondering if people used language to think. And I was studying how animals other than humans think since they don't have a spoken language.

Then I came across your hub and I found it very interesting. I never thought about the fact that people have three ways of thinking. You explained this extremely well! I especially found intriguing the third method, that some people think with feeling. I knew about visual and verbal people, but I never thought about the fact that there is a third type.

I think our educational system would do a lot better if this was understood, and as you said, teaches should be assigned to students, and vice versa, based on similar thinking styles. I agree that this is a major problem since it is not addressed properly.

We've got to get the word out and I'm going to tweet your hub. Also voted up and awesome.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 4 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Glenn.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Good article.

Indeed many of my teachers bored the living bananas out of me and I just ended-up skipping their class, or I would bring my own reading material to their class (but that would land me in trouble more often than not).

As long as the educational system is modeled on the factory and assembly line idea, creativity and the level of education children receive will only deteriorate. Yet, the adults who control the system are too much of inbreeds to realize this and allow change to take place. Ego, ego, ego ... lol

Thank You for the write Mr. Spirit Whisperer.

Cheers!

P.S. Will share! : )


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

I've been aware of these different types of learning for awhile, but thought your hub was interesting and informative. I especially enjoyed the video. I used to think I was just a visual learner, but have decided that kinesthetic learning is very helpful to me. Thanks for this great hub and Thank You Mr. Happy for sharing it.

I wish that the schools would honor the way students individually learn. I have always been fascinated with Maria Montessori's theories and practical labs re: children's development and their need for hands on experiences before age 5 to aid in the brain development. Rated up/I/U


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 3 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Mr Happy for taking the time to read this hub and sharing it. If the teacher is not speaking the same language as the students he /she is teaching then boredom or worse can result. A lot of misunderstanding in the world is down to different thinking styles.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 3 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Denise for stopping by and I am glad you liked the hub. We all use a little of all three but tend to use one more that the other two. By being aware of your preferred thinking style and of the thinking style of the person you wish to communicate with you can avoid a lot of misunderstanding. I also completely agree with you with regard to teachers honoring each student's individual learning style instead of simply labeling them or writing many off at a very young age.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Yes, indeed: "A lot of misunderstanding in the world is down to different thinking styles."

I also am of the opinion that a lot of misunderstanding can arise out of misinterpretation. I have been looking at this closely for ... hmmm ... since I met You here on Hub-page, I guess. I realized that many people use words but not with the meaning that those words are shown in a dictionary. This may seem laughable but I do feel many times that people speak the same language yet, they do not understand one another. There is more than one reason to this but I do think one reason is that not all of us are using the system of languages as it was designed to be used. Hence, confusion in what we say, what we mean ... and eventually from confusion in thought comes confusion in actions (since, actions come from thought). This may seem like a stretch but it is not that far of a stretch.

I value dictionaries. I suppose it is because I had to learn four different languages at one point in my life. If we all used the words we use with the meaning that the dictionaries give, we would eliminate much haziness.

Thank You for the conversation, Mr. Spirit Whisperer.

All the best! : )


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Interesting and important information about how children (and adults) learn. And very well explained and written.

I am curious though, all my teacher training has emphasized that Kinesthetic has to do with movement, large motor operations, rather than feelings.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 3 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you phdast7 for your comment and your question regarding Kinaesthetic.

"If you thought with feelings then you would have wanted to learn by touching the things you were being taught."

You feel things with your hands and skin. Feeling in this sense is to do with sensation. Interesting to note is that most of the children labelled weak or the trouble makers tend to be Kinaesthetic but very few teachers are Kinaesthetic.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York

Really good hub. I actually learned this information years ago, in sales training, when I became a representative for yellow page advertisements.You presented it very well, and it is REALLY important information for all teachers. Thanks!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 3 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Paradise7 for your kind words and support.


DJ Anderson 3 years ago

This is a most informative presentation. Such a shame that teachers cannot recognize and address each student in a way that the student can relate. This should be a challenge to us all to be aware of other people's

understanding pattern. If we are astute, better understanding and communication will lead to better results. I am visual, my son is auditory, and my husband is from the moon!!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 3 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you DJ Anderson. Good luck with the lunar landing :)

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