A large portion of this post was first published in January 2013. Two facts surprise me about that: 1) I was stunned to realize I had been writing this blog – albeit on and off – for four years; and 2) Everything said here is just as relevant as it was when I first posted it.
According to my younger grandson’s kindergarten teacher, he is not performing at needed levels in all areas. When this was first shared with my son and daughter-in-law, I tested him to see if some extra work, with me as his tutor was needed.
He tested better than any other kindergartner I had ever tested! And I was probably a little tougher on him!
Naturally I check in to see how he is doing, and apparently his teacher still has some concerns.
Here is my concern – he’s doing just fine, but does not fall into the exact paradigm that the standards have determined that he should. He also has an older brother with a different, more outgoing personality.
As I have said so many times, children are all different. They are stronger in some areas than they are in others; they learn skills at their own pace; some things are more important to them than others. I could go on, but you get the idea.
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.
I am not critical of my grandson’s teacher, only critical of a system that causes her to be “concerned” that he has not mastered something at a predetermined point in time.
This causes concern where there should be none.
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