Saturday, September 5, 2009

Learning Styles~Strengths and Weaknesses

"I don't learn that way," my daughter told me when we were discussing a method of learning just the other day...actually over this same method, she has said this before, but this time I had an answer for her. An answer that I want to share with you about learning styles, whether it's your child's strength or weakness.

We all have learning styles. And actually we all learn at varied rates within each of the styles: auditory, visual, tactile or kinesthetic. Just a brief definition of each is that auditory is listening, visual is seeing, tactile is touching and kinesthetic is doing so that we are all on the same page here...and what my child was telling me is what is true for everyone. There are ways we learn better than others, but of course if you are deaf or blind then you wouldn't learn by hearing or seeing...but the other learning styles would be increased by heightened sensory receptors. Ever realize that many piano tuners have vision impairments? I've known two wonderful such people, and their weakness in one sensory area led to strengths in another! So with our typically developing children, there are bound to be strengths and weaknesses in their learning styles.

Strengths and weaknesses need not be a boundry for learning in the lesser learning area. This is an opportunity to build skills. With my daughter my answer was this, "yes, I know it's a weakened area, but we are going to build upon it and exercise it so you will have strength in that area." This was specifically the auditory learning style and the actual skill was note taking. I further explained that she would need this skill in college and would not be able to tell the professor that because she didn't learn this way, to please just give her the notes from which the lecture was drawn...I could imagine just how well this might go over~not! So with this said, we are skill building...the idea of learning styles sis not to focus on the strength necessarily in all of a child's learning, but to built upon them to strengthen the weakened areas to bring those up to speed.

If you have an active hands on child, of course let them hop and skip and sing to learn...but also expect some and build gradually the practice of listening with auditory and visual learning~these areas must be exercised. A child must learn to use all styles to be highly successful educationally. Information is taught in so many different ways, and to be able to fully engage that information is very beneficial.

Just remember to build on the strengths by working some of the weakened areas so that skills are increased.


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