By Renee Smith | J&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana
As we watch our children grow, play, and learn, we realize that they are different. Why does one daughter love to help you bake cookies, but the other wants no part of that activity? How can your son spend hours creating with Legos© but cannot sit still long enough to eat dinner?
Parents likely attribute these differences to personality and move on; however, the real explanation is more complex.
Children – and adults – learn differently. There are four primary ways that a child learns: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic.
The visual learner prefers to see and memorize the visual aspects. The auditory learner listens and follows instructions. The reading/writing learner focuses on reading, referencing, and later writing down what they learn. The kinesthetic learner views the world as a huge playground to explore.
The visual learner will be drawn to arts, paintings, and crafts and will be able to recall where items are, while the kinesthetic learner may leave a trail of toys, some in pieces!
The auditory learner may be the one who embarrasses you in front of the grandparents when s/he repeats verbatim some of your more colorful comments to the dinner guests! The read-write preferential learner likes to read and is drawn to detailed objects.
Obviously learning modalities will impact the way, the sequence, and the time necessary for a child to learn a skill or task. Why was it easier to teach your first born to put their toys away than the second? The first born is a verbal learner who follows directions and responds well to verbal commands.
The second child may be a read/write preferential learner who enjoys activities that require detailed attention. Putting toys away is boring. This child may enjoy a game that requires several steps in order to put the toys away. For example, buy this child two or three baskets of different shapes, and tell the child to put the round toys in the round basket, etc.
The result will be the same. One method will just take more time than the other.
The parent who can recognize these differences and interact with their children in each child’s preferred learning method will encourage positive behavior.
Children want to please. As parents and teachers we just need to learn how we can help them accomplish that.