“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” — Ignacio Estrada
Just as our hair, skin, eyes and personalities are different, we all have different ways of which we learn. The traditional structure of American schools often oversees the opportunity to understand each unique-minded students and guide him or her into learning in a productive, differentiated way.
Our mainstream educational system teaches to an auditory learner. Do you know that 65 percent of our population is a visual learner? That means that 65 percent of our children start their days getting lectured at, then failing or struggling to hear the information. If we understood the auditory, visual and kinesthetic learner and all the combinations, would our children struggle less in school?
Auditory learners don’t mind the lectures in school. Hearing and speaking is how their brain processes information. These students may often read aloud to themselves in order to process and understand information. Saying something out loud helps them remember and process. Some auditory learners may read slowly and have trouble writing and following written directions. This learner enjoys being read to, explains ideas well, is easily distracted by noise and excels at performance-based tasks.
Visual learners need to see things in order to understand. They want to see it rather than be told it. They have the “show me and I’ll understand” perspective. Information is absorbed when they can see the words, information, graphs and illustrations on the chalkboard or paper. Visual learners like to take notes and tend to be organized. If the chalkboard is used a lot in a classroom, a visual learner will benefit by being in the front of the classroom.
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They want the “hands-on” experience. They will be active and need frequent breaks. Their bodily movement helps to stimulate their brain to focus. They are best when physically doing an activity, group work, field trip or experiment. Sitting still is difficult for these learners and lectures hardly get absorbed.
We are all a combination of these learning styles; however, almost everyone is dominant in one. Understanding and differentiating can show profound academic improvement.
Let’s encourage ourselves as parents, teachers and educators to remember that every beautiful mind of our children and students is unique.
— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.