At a parent education session at the boys' (Montessori) school one of the teachers spoke at length how important it is to identify each child's preferred learning style. They spoke about how they identify this and how they adapt their teaching so that the information is presented in an optimal fashion and that the learning environment is also optimal for each child. Wow! For each child!
Montessori (and many other) schools and environments are designed for not one specific learning type, with no bias but for all learning types, for all children - with the expectation that all children are different and have different needs. I also really love that the teacher spoke about being able to introduce a topic to a child in one style then use other styles to reinforce that learning. Especially when introducing a topic that is very difficult, it is best presented in the child's preferred style of learning. It sets the child up for success and works to their strengths.
What are the main types of learning styles? Here are a few remembering that many children (and adults) use a combination of styles.
Learns through seeing and observing, needs visual cues. Preference for pictures, images and spatial understanding. Learns through demonstrations and descriptions, enjoy diagrams, pictures, charts and maps. Older visual learners may find written instructions useful. Have a need to see the information in addition to any verbal instruction. May find too much movement in the classroom distracting.
Learns through hearing, good at absorbing the spoken language. Preference for sound and music. Learns through listening, discussions and talking things through and even self talk. Enjoys audio books and possibly making recordings and playing them back. Verbal information may be beneficial in addition to written information. May find too much noise distracting (need quiet learning space).
Learns through touch and using their hands. Must touch and may find it hard to wait before physically exploring a material. Preference for tactile experiences. May prefer making with their hands and drawing including doodling while learning.
Learns through moving and doing. Preference for movement of the body. May not be able to sit still for long periods of time. Hands on learning where movement is encouraged works best. Enjoys moving while learning. Child needs to physically and actively explore areas of interest.
Preference for logic, reasoning and systems.
Preference for learning and working in groups or with other people.
Preference for working in solitude, alone and use self-study.
I know that my children are a combination of social and solitary learners depending on how they are feeling and what they are working on. Otis is a kinesthetic learner but I really feel this has more to do with his stage in development. Caspar is absolutely a logic (mathematical) learner.
Can you identify your child's learning style?