Learning is something we all do. Children however are learning at a pace much quicker than adults. This is because their prefrontal cortex where memory is stored isn’t as developed as that of an adult. However children, like adults, all learn differently. It’s important that we as parents discover the different ways children learn in order to help our own children learn well.
As soon as they are able to, young children begin to explore their world through play. At this stage of their lives, they are absorbing everything around them letting creativity and imagination take the lead.
But what happens when schooling enters the picture?
Your child may have a different school experience depending on where they do their learning. Many children thrive in a traditional school environment, but there are a few who find school challenging and struggle to learn. Many factors can play into this but more often than not it’s because the school system can sometimes fail to effectively cater to all types of learners. Usually, the modern classroom is set up in a way that favors visual and auditory learners. Schools are constantly changing and implementing new teaching methods and some schools even have programs specifically designed for children who learn differently. But it’s not always easy to find a school with those programs close to home. Because of this, parents may choose a private or homeschool education for their child where there is more opportunity for a tailored learning experience.
Discovering the best option for your child when it comes to what type of schooling is the best fit, begins with finding out what type of learner they are. They may even fit under more than one type. Whatever the case, learning how our children learn best will set them up for greater success.
“Learning how our children learn best will set them up for greater success”
3 Different Ways Children Learn
1. Aural/Auditory Learner
Aural or auditory learners respond best to spoken words. They can effectively learn by listening to lectures, music, movie scripts, audiobooks, and vocal instruction.
Children under this category will find it easy to listen to vocal instructions given by a teacher. They will easily recall spoken information and thrive in group discussions because they will have strong communication skills.
Ways to support an auditory learner:
Always provide instruction verbally. Whether it be through a video, recording, in person, or even in music, try your best to make sure there is plenty of opportunities to listen to information for your child.
In situations where learning in written form is necessary, teach your child to read the information aloud. This tool will help them throughout their life to retain information effectively. Audiobooks are also a great tool for auditory learners. It can sometimes be difficult for this type of learner to focus while reading a book. Audiobooks give them a better chance to focus and absorb the information. Audible is a great place to get amazing audiobooks.
Use Background Noise
Another way to support an auditory learner is by using background noise. Background noise can help an auditory learner because too many noises at once can be a distraction. Allow your child to wear headphones or play soft music in the background to help them zero in and concentrate.
Give Opportunity for Spoken Word
Opening up the lesson for discussion whether it be in a group or student to teacher can be very helpful for an auditory learner. Their ability to grow in a subject depends on listening. The more time they spend listening and speaking about the subject the more they will learn.
2. Visual Learners
Visual learners, also known as spatial learners, learn best when they receive information in the form of written words, graphics, charts, etc. These types of learners respond better to seeing information rather than hearing. You’ll find many “doodlers” in this category as visual learners try to make sense of information through visualization. Visual learners also usually like to read and write.
The traditional school system is great for visual learners as there are plenty of opportunities to visualize information. Examples of these are the use of whiteboards, chalkboards, smart boards, charts, handouts, etc.
Ways to Support a Visual/Spatial Learner
Provide Handouts and Worksheets
If your child is put in a classroom where most of the information is given verbally, they can still learn well if handouts and worksheets are provided. Worksheets and hanouts are really helpful tools for following along and understanding the verbal lesson that is being given.
Use colors! Kids love colors and visual learners are drawn to color. Making things colorful can help engage them and focus on the subject at hand.
Create To-Do Lists
Visual learners benefit from writing down the things they need to do. Even young children can get into the habit of doing this. Having printable checklists like this one can help young children who don’t yet write, learn and remember to get things done.
Use Lots of Graphics and Flash Cards
To a young visual learner, pictures are essential. This is especially true in the elementary-age group where reading and writing are still being developed. Incorporate as many relevant images as possible. Flashcards are perfect for this.
3. Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners process information through touch and movement. Children who are kinesthetic learners learn best through playing, experiments, projects, and practical application.
A lot of times, visual learners can benefit from kinesthetic learning activities.
Ways to Support a Kinesthetic learner
Learn Through Play
Children love to play and most young children learn through play. But as they grow, some children continue learning this way. Even into adulthood, some people learn best through practical application.
Some ways you can help your kinesthetic learner to retain information is by incorporating these things into their learning:
See these examples:
Try to incorporate as much movement as possible. Depending on the subject you can do this through role-playing, dance, sports, games, Etc.
Wherever possible, if arts and crafts can be incorporated take advantage of that. See below for an example:
Use Real-Life Examples
The best way to teach kinesthetic learners is by showing them what or how. If you are teaching a child about insects, you may tell an auditory learner about the insect, you may show a visual learner a diagram of the insect but a kinesthetic learner will learn best by seeing and touching the insect.
No matter what kind of learning style your child fits under, what’s important is to create or find an environment where they can learn well and thrive. It’s up to us to make sure they are set up for success in every way possible.