You're in yet another parent-teacher conference on a Friday afternoon, sitting with your six-year-old as his teacher complains that he won't pay attention, doesn't listen, and simply can't sit still. He's a great kid, you think – why is classroom learning so hard for him, when his eight-year-old sister is at the top of her class and consistently excels in every assignment? They have the same home life, the same parents, the same routine. What more can you do to help him?
Luckily, a bit of personal insight can help! Science has found that most people gravitate towards one of three major styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinetic. The average classroom in an elementary school has plenty of materials for visual and auditory learners, but very few for kinetic learners. Understanding each type may help you understand the problems your kids encounter within the school system!
Visual learners generally do best with materials they can see. Bright colors, pictures, diagrams, and written texts are easy for them to enjoy and understand. A visual learner will excel in any discipline that requires written or printed material to understand; mathematics will be easy to grasp as long as it is written out on a blackboard, and English skills and vocabulary learning can be augmented with flashcards. Visual learners generally do not do well in lectures that do not employ visual aids, or with hands-on training.
Auditory learners respond well to the spoken word, either in person or on audiotape – for young children, the incorporations of songs, recitations, and oral presentations may be a useful way to really help auditory learners shine. They respond poorly to silent classrooms, and have difficulty focusing on printed texts for any length of time. Ask auditory learners to read out loud at home, practice verbal vocabulary exercises, and initiate lengthy discussions of the topics they need to focus on.
Kinetic learners generally present the most problems in a traditional classroom setting. They're good kids, but they need to physically manipulate concepts in order to understand them fully – letting each child write problems out on a blackboard or giving them wooden-cut-out letters to spell words with may help young kinetic learners. Teachers complain that these kids can't concentrate or sit still, but really they just require a different approach! Ask them to make their own flash card set for vocabulary learning.
Understanding can go a long way towards helping troubled kids! Don't underestimate the power of flash card sets, online quizzes, and other visual, kinetic, and auditory aids when it comes to the learning process.