What Is a Learning Style?
Every Child Has a Special Way of Learning
A learning style is an approach to learning that is an innovative way of learning new things for children. There are several choices in learning and teaching styles, tailored for children of every age group and class. Each learning style is developed and catered to a child's specific need to maximize learning in the classroom.
Children normally fall into a category of visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners, or a combination of all three learning styles.
Some children learn through visualization. They must see their teacher's facial expression and fully observe their body language to grasp or understand a lesson. This is because they are sited learners. Such ocular children easily learn by looking at diagrams or visible displays, because they think in pictures. Normally they like to take detailed notes. They prefer to learn by reading, watching videotapes, and observing demonstrations, rather than simply listening to a teacher’s lesson. After they have read the material, they are more prone to listen, and to grasp a teacher’s lecture, and class presentation.
Other children learn best through hearing. They easily grasp a class lesson by listening to a lecture, since they are auditory learners. It is important they hear the message. Auditory learners are facilitated by opportunities to listen, and to discuss what they just learned. After they have heard the message, they can easily profit from reading the class material to do their homework. Such children benefit by listening to their textbook on audio tape. This is a grand feat, since it's been demonstrated people really can learn through eleven percent of their hearing.
A Hand on Approach
Children who are kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. A hand approach to learning is best for such learners. They must physically get involved in the teacher’s lesson plan through movement and action. The use of body language easily helps them to grasp what is being taught. They learn greatly through experimentation, and love to figure out ways to solve a problem through role-playing. If such a child were given a task to figure the scientific theory behind the science of sound waves, they would learn best by building and testing a sound machine, before reading the theory in a science book. They acquire information best through dramatic improvisation, games and participating in workshops.
Convergent and Divergent Thinking Skills
Some children learn through a combination of these three learning styles, depending on their particular mood on any given day. Teachers need to vary their lesson plans to cater to each child's learning style to maximize learning in their classroom.
The goal of every teacher is to help children develop to the point where they are challenged to think for themselves. Teachers do this through testing. Testing a child’s knowledge on a class subject is important. A teacher can guide each student into convergent and divergent thinking.
In convergent thinking a student is guided to arrive at the finest possible solution to a problem by choosing the best answer in a multiple-choice test.
In divergent thinking a student is guided to formulate an answer based on answering an essay question. This skill is essential to master, if a child is to become an active learner. This helps children to brainstorm and to be able to think creatively.
Helping Children Take Responsibility for Their Learning
When a child learns to take responsibility for his learning, they are more likely to succeed, and do well in every class subject. This ultimate goal takes a bit of time to develop. The paramount way to lead a child to taking responsibility for his learning is to present the class material in gentle ways that are appealing to a child’s individual learning style.
Children naturally love to soak in new information, and typically have many questions. It’s up to their teacher to make each lesson interesting and conducive to maximum learning for each child in their classroom.
Understanding Your Learning Style
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© 2012 Sheila Craan
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