Does Your Child Have A Personal Learning Style?
22 February 2018

Does Your Child Have A Personal Learning Style?

Why Does it Matter that You Know Your Child's Learning Style? 

Howard Gardner created a theory about the different ways in which humans think and learn. His work challenged the narrow traditional views that were previously held about human intelligence: he catagorised various abilities into a number of intelligences. He said people engage with data, material and information depending on their strengths and preferences.  Furthermore his catagorisation of abilities into a list of intelligences is used in very deliberate ways with positive results, to plan classroom lessons. 

Schools have been successfully using the VAK model to help pupils better access the curriculum and cater to their individual learning needs. What is VAK?

  • V is for visual learners: who have a great capacity for spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with  the mind's Eye. 
  • A is for audio learners: who best understand through listening and speaking, and have sensitivity to sound, rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody.   
  • K is for kinesthetic learners: learn best by doing; handle objects skillfully; have a good sense of timing and enjoy of physical action.

An example to help understand this is, when learning how to build a clock, some students can learn best by following verbal instructions, while others have to physically manipulate the clock themselves and others would need to see a diagram.

Parents can also note their child’s strengths and interests according to Gardner’s multiple intelligences guide, to help them access different subjects in more effective and enjoyable ways.

Let's look at maths and fractions in particular, to consider how you can help your child/ren be better learners by knowing and understanding their strengths. The key factors about fractions and how to calculate them, is that they are an exact measurement: equal parts of a whole and useful when sharing, and comparing.

If your child is a visual learner you can help them understand fractions by showing them how you equally share out a tray of pasta/rice or cake at mealtime. If your child is touchy-feely, you can ask them to help bake a cake which involves identifying exact measurements of ingredients, (such as 8 grams of butter from a whole slab). If your child is an auditory learner, you can get them to explain to you what they know about fractions – give them opportunities to talk through the subject.

The main thing to remember is:

  • to provide visual learners with lots of images, graphs, charts, and allow them opportunities to draw mind maps or colour pictures/charts relating to each new topic.
  • to provide kinesthetic learners with lots of opportunities to interact and express themselves through the use of materials such as Lego, play-dough and sand as they learn new topics.
  • to provide auditory learners with lots of opportunity to listen (which could include music, talking books), and talk through what they are learning, by working in groups with peers.

Whilst some supplementary schools believe that success is rooted in repetition, as a result they either sit pupils down with multiple work sheets, or in front of computer screens to work through lots of exercises. Our programmes include lots of opportunities for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners to work to their natural strengths and abilities, therefore maximising their learning. This includes discussion time, visual aids and where relevant, the use of bricks and coins for maths topics. 

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences
http://teach.com/what/teachers-teach/learning-styles
http://www.mathworksheetscenter.com/mathtips/fractionsareimportant.html
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-elementary-school/104141-using-differentiated-instruction-to-teach-fractions-to-third-graders/

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