One size does not fit all. One style of teaching does not support all the learners in a classroom. We all learn in different ways. We are a combination of Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learners. It is very rare for a student to have just one learning style, but they can have a preference in how they receive and retain knowledge.
When children first start kindergarten they are usually a combination of kinesthetic and tactile learners. They need to move around and touch everything as they learn. They’re gaining knowledge through experience. As they move into grade two some students become more visual in their learning style, and as your child gets older they can become more of an auditory learner.
Most young children are driven with a kinesthetic approach to learning. They learn by doing, participating in, and taking in information through experience. They learn best with a hands on approach. You can support this style of learning by including your child in the activity, show them how to and then let them explore. At school they benefit from physically writing things down, moving around as they receive information, saying things aloud as they walk.
Visual learners learn best by seeing. They think in pictures, and remember experiences with colour and detail. To support this learning style choose picture books with beautiful illustrations. Choose colourful materials with lots of visual interest. As your child gets older they can use colour pens and highlighters. They are helped with graphic organizers, mind maps, colour coded flash cards, ‘to do’ lists, and ‘stick it’ notes. They can record information using charts, pictures, films, and many visual cues.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing. Their thoughts are full of sounds, or sounds bring back strong memories. To support this learning style tell lots of stories, change the tone of your voice to maintain interest. As your child moves into older grades they can record instructions, listen to audio books, join discussion groups, and use lots of verbal review.
The auditory learner benefits most from the traditional form of teaching.
Project Based Learning is being introduced into classrooms. Children are encouraged to follow and discover the ways they learn. What are they interested in finding out, and how do they want to explore the questions they have?
Their style of learning will become apparent in their choice of activities to find the answer. The visual learners will want to create pictures and diagrams, lists, film themselves, use lots of colour. The kinesthetic learner will want to build and create models, act out, and discover by doing. The auditory learners will want to record their discoveries through voice. The joy of Project Based Learning is the ability to use visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning in a combination of ways.
It’s a very different way to approach learning, but it’s the direction a lot of schools are taking. If you’re already familiar with this approach you will be ahead of the game in supporting your child’s learning.