Different Learning Styles
It’s common knowledge that each of us learns differently, but different “learning styles” are actually much more sophisticated and specific concepts, researched and reviewed by learning experts.
No particular learning style is “better” than another, and most people have a mix of a few different learning styles. Because of that, it’s important for parents and educators to help kids exercise different learning styles, not just the ones that match them best. Reinforcing strong learning styles help build a child’s confidence, while addressing weaker learning styles help enhance overall development.
(Sometimes different learning styles are confused with “multiple intelligences” (http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm) and “learning modalities” (http://facultyweb.cortland.edu/andersmd/learning/Modalities.htm), but these are different concepts altogether.)
While learning styles often come with different labels, they are generally grouped under four categories, based on combinations of “sensing”, “intuitive”, “feeling”, and “thinking.”
Discuss different learning styles with your child’s teacher for a richer assessment of how he learns, and ways that you can help him really shine at home.
- Sensing-Thinking This child learns best when faced with tasks that involve direct instruction and details. She will often thrive with work that calls for memorization, and may enjoy competitions or other situations that give her the chance to complete a project from a planning phase through completion. She usually appreciates activities that require observation, description, and categorizing items and ideas. To help strengthen this learning style, have your child organize and build things, and place items in order.
- Intuitive-Thinking This child learns best when he studies independently, compares and contrasts ideas, and is engaged in problem-solving activities. He might like games that allow him to analyze information and examine possibilities, as well as those that call for questioning, arguing, and debating. Projects that involve inquiry, like essay-writing, will really spark this learner’s interest. It’s important to allow the child with this learning style to research and develop ideas, and have enough time to examine and prove them.
- Intuitive-Feeling This child’s ideal world is a place in which she can predict outcomes, use her imagination, and come up with ideas. She will likely enjoy outside-of-the-box thinking and grow from activities that allow her to explore possibilities through speculation. This learner will often thrive during open-ended discussions and in situations where she can develop and articulate original solutions to problems. To help develop this learning style, encourage activities that use imagery and metaphor, like poetry and art projects.
- Sensing-Feeling This child often learns best when within groups of people and when he feels connected to others. He loves team games that involve role-playing and sharing personal points of view. You can promote this learning style by giving him chances to describe his feelings about people and himself in given situations. Also explore activities that enable him to teach others. Peer-tutoring, plays, and group investigations will help this learner soar.