How to Make the Most of Different Learning Styles
Last month, we looked at the reading, writing and listening learning styles. Today, we will consider the final three styles of learning with the understanding that your children most likely utilize a combination of learning styles to fully gain lifetime knowledge. With that said, let’s examine speaking, visualizing and manipulating.
If speaking is a child’s preferred learning style, he or she learns best by talking about the topics being emphasized. The following are ideas for promoting the development of this style:
1. Attend class regularly, so you can ask questions about what is said.
2. Ask yourself questions out loud while you are studying.
3. Study with other students. This way you can discuss the information.
4. Always elect to give a speech rather than do a written report, whenever possible.
5. Repeat things right after you hear them to assist you in remembering them.
6. Dictate into a tape recorder what you need to write or study.
7. Study for a quiz by asking questions out loud and then answering them to yourself.
8. If you have trouble spelling a word, spell it out loud before you write it.
9. Choose an occupation, such as law and politics, which involves a lot of public speaking.
Should visualizing be a child’s primary mode of learning, he or she will comprehend better by picturing something in his or her mind. I must admit it is one of my learning strategies. Below are suggestions for promoting this learning style:
1. Close your eyes and practice mentally seeing what you need to remember.
2. Watch movies and videos on a school topic, so you will have an easier time visualizing the information again.
3. As you read something, picture how it would look if you were seeing it in a movie.
4. Observe demonstrations of things you need to do instead of reading about them, so you will be able to envision them later.
5. Take special note of the shape of items you want to remember.
6. Solve mathematics problems by picturing the numerals.
7. Close your eyes to mentally view the word before you write it.
8. When you study diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, etc., close your eyes and “see” them in your mind.
9. In your future career, visualize your tasks to more clearly understand what you need to do.
If tactile (or touching) manipulation is a child’s innate learning preference, he or she will understand by handling things or by changing his or her environment. Below are general suggestions for enhancing this learning style:
1. Build models of hard-to-understand concepts.
2. Experiment by trying things you read about.
3. Watch someone do what you need to learn before trying it.
4. Observe educational demonstrations instead of reading or hearing about them.
5. When possible, visit places you are learning about.
6. If given the choice, build a project rather than writing a written report about it.
7. Do mathematic problems with objects you can move.
8. Make sure your work area allows you to move around while you are studying a topic.
9. Definitely consider a career position that allows you the opportunity to use your hands in a mobile work area.
Hopefully, the preceding material has given you a new awareness of how learning styles play a significant role in your children’s abilities to gain knowledge. As
parents, guide your children in directions that will assist them to master their dominant learning style(s). In doing so, your children will have a much better understanding of the world in which they live.
“Progress always involves risk; you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
– Frederick Wilcox
Next month’s column: “How Your Children Should Read Textbooks.”
Happy New Year!
Dr. Bill Welker is a retired reading specialist who was a K-12 classroom teacher for 40 years. He was selected as a “2009 Teacher of the Year” by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.