What’s Your Child’s Learning Style?

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

Understanding your child’s learning style is an essential step in assessing which school setting is the best fit for your child.  As parents, you have the power to send your child to a school that suits your child’s learning needs.  Properly assessing the schools that are in your neighborhood or in other school districts will take more effort on your part, but the results could be the difference from your child being taught to just get by in school or to be challenged and thrive.  Some of you have the ability to choose the neighborhood in which you live.  With that in mind, the process of learning about the school districts before you move to a particular neighborhood could be worth the investigation.  For those parents who don’t have as much flexibility to choose the neighborhood you want your child to grow up in, it may be worth it to investigate charter schools or public schools that offer learning programs conducive for your child’s learning style.  The other option for any parent is to research private schools.  Some private schools offer scholarships for children that come from families that are not able to afford the full payment.  Even though most schools have similar missions to ‘educate children’, each school has a different method that affects the overall teaching styles utilized by the teachers.

Your child will not only have the opportunity to thrive in the right school setting, but they can also do so at home with your help.  There are many steps you can take at home to support your child’s learning at school.  Below is a list of 8 Learning Styles developed by Howard Gardner (theorist of Multiple Intelligences developed from cognitive and developmental psychologies, anthropology and sociality concepts to understand human intelligence [Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books]).  As you read about the 8 Learning Styles, ask yourself which learning style(s) best describe your child:

 

1. Linguistic (Verbal) Learning Style – this style of learning deals with sensitivity to meanings and order of words.  This type of learner easily communicates his or her thoughts and feelings using words.  These children are often early talkers, use complex sentence structures at an early age and are able to use words to share their experiences with others.  Linguistic learners often:

  • Use extensive vocabulary words
  • Easily learn how to read and enjoy reading
  • Enjoy saying tongue twisters
  • Tell jokes
  • Tell puns
  • Make riddles
  • Write their own songs
  • Create limericks (humorous rhythmic 5 line poem)
  • Enjoy telling stories
  • Enjoy playing word games
  • Make strong arguments and can convince others of their point of view

2. Intrapersonal Learning Style – this learner uses introspective means to understand oneself and others.  They can analyze the different ways they think and feel and have the ability to control their feelings and moods and oftentimes observe and listen to others.  This learner often:

  • Spends time self analyzing and thinking about past events and how they approached them
  • Works best alone
  • Enjoys being on a vacation in a remote place far from crowds of people
  • Making plans and setting goals (ex. Getting all A’s in school for the whole year)
  • Spend a lot of time trying to figure out problems rather than asking others to help them solve it

3. Interpersonal/Social Learning Style – this type of learner has the ability to understand people and relationships and is able to communicate well with others verbally and non-verbally.  This learner often:

  • Makes a lot of friends and keep the peace between them
  • Is usually sensitive to moods, feelings, behaviors and motivations
  • Enjoys learning through a group process that involves them giving ideas and listening to other people’s ideas
  • Tends to learn from others
  • Learns well in group settings
  • Enjoys one on one learning with teachers or instructors
  • Prefers social activities rather than doing activities alone
  • Like games that are played with others as well as sports

4. Naturalist Learning Style – This type of learner enjoys the great outdoors.  They are nurturers of the environment around them and are able to recognize and classify different types of species in various environments.  They have the ability to recognize subtle changes in their environment.  These learners:

  • Enjoy collecting rocks
  • Enjoy observing plants and birds
  • Enjoy catching insects
  • Enjoy camping
  • Enjoy nature walks
  • Enjoy hiking
  • Enjoy gardening
  • Have a natural attunement to the relationships in nature
  • Are good at categorizing and cataloguing information

5. Visual/Spatial Learning Style – this type of learner has the ability to see the world in an accurate lens as well as visualize objects, plans and outcomes in their minds.  This learner:

  • Prefers to use images, pictures, maps and colors to organize information
  • Tends to play with puzzles, mazes and building blocks
  • Has the ability to take things apart and put them back together
  • Has a good sense of direction and rarely gets lost
  • Enjoys doodling and drawing to make their point or help them through their thought process

6. Musical Learning Style – your child is a musical learner if they have a sensitivity to sound (pitch, melody, rhythm and tone).  This learner is able to:

  • Sing and/or play music
  • Identify different sounds from instruments
  • Replicate music with little effort
  • Pick up on the background music in movies, songs and other media
  • Enjoy listening to music often
  • Hum, tap rhythms, move in rhythmic body movements

7. Kinesthetic Learning Style – this type of learner processes information through hand and body movement, expression and control.  This learner has the ability to use the body and objects skillfully.  They tend to enjoy:

  • Sports
  • Physical activities
  • Dance
  • Acting
  • Miming
  • Drafting
  • Shop class
  • Drawing

8. Logical/Mathematical Learning Style – this type of learner is quick to recognize patterns and think logically.  Having lists and thinking through problems are ideal for this learner.  This learner:

  • Enjoys working with numbers
  • Wants to understand how things work
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Codes emotions, thoughts and experiences logically
  • Classifies and groups connections
  • Uses logical/mathematical symbol systems to communicate logic
  • Uses mathematical means to aid memory (writes notes to self in formulas)
  • Calculates in their head
  • Works through problems in a systematic way
  • Picks up flaws in other people’s writing, words or actions
  • Plays thinking games (ex. Chess, backgammon, brain teasers, etc.)
  • Enjoys hands on science

Now that you are familiar with the 8 different Learning Styles, take note that your child may be a hybrid of the different styles mentioned.  Now I would like to focus your attention on ways that your learner is most easily taught and what the strategies to implement them look like.  These tips will assist you to help support your child at home.

Tips for helping your linguistic learner with assignments:

  1. Encourage your child to describe and write what they are learning.  For instance, if your child is having a tough time with remembering events in history, have them make up mnemonics to help them remember.  Also, if your child is having trouble learning math, have them make up a story where the characters take on the characteristics of the math problems (ex. Have a character count many items).
  2. Have your child write or record what they are learning for later review.
  3. Engage in a role play of learning concepts with your child and make it dramatic.

Tips for help your logical/mathematical learner with assignments:

  1. Create bullet points of specific important concepts
  2. Use an outline to aid in summarizing major points
  3. Classify and categorize information learned
  4. Create flow charts with your child
  5. Help your learner understand the reasoning behind content (ex. What part of the brain allows for logical/mathematical thinking)
  6. Help them learn to move on and not overanalyze (to prevent them from getting stuck on a problem and not finish it due to their over analytical  thought process)
  7. Make sure their home learning environment is structured and organized environments

Tips for helping your kinesthetic learner with assignments:

  1. Use tactile senses and fine gross motor movements
  2. Use objects for child to count or give a characteristic to
  3. Have your child interact with their learning space to act out a concept
  4. Make a diagram using noodles, beads, beans, etc. to create a concept
  5. Have you child experience what fizz feels like on their nose or have them experience a small shock from a science project to help them understand using their senses

Tips for helping your musical learner with assignments:

  1. Making a song out of a lesson (ex. The ABC song; Doe a Deer song; etc.)
  2. Have audio playing in the background when your child learns about concepts (ex. Sounds of a battlefield battle when learning about history; wind and birds when your child is learning about airplanes or bird species)
  3. Learning math techniques by counting drum beats or making musical patterns with an instrument (ex. Xylophone, kitchen utensils, chair, etc.)

Tips for helping your visual/spatial learner with assignments:

  1. Help your child create a color layout when making an outline or doing projects
  2. Show your child how to use color and pictures to help them memorize concepts (ex. Show pictures of astronaut when your child is reading about outer space concepts)
  3. Teach your child how to visualize the content to make a story in their mind about what they are reading or learning

Tips for helping your naturalist learner with assignments:

  1. Use photos and books about animals of the natural world when explaining topics
  2. Observe cause and effect concepts outdoors in the natural environment
  3. Use a terrarium, microscope or bird feeder to help your child learn about concepts of nature
  4. Use a hand-on approach when teaching concepts (ex. Have your child physically count blocks for math or physically learn about fractions using four leaf flowers)

Tips for helping your interpersonal/social learner with assignments:

  1. Studying group
  2. Group games to learn different concepts
  3. Group discussions
  4. Have your child share their thoughts about an assignment and bounce off other ideas about new ways to think about the concept
  5. Have your child visualize how a character in a book or person in history could have been feeling throughout the experience notated in a book or film

Tips for helping your intrapersonal learner with assignments:

  1. When you child is learning about a concept have them visualize how they would feel experiencing the concept (ex. Your child’s feelings if they were Harriett Tubman helping slave escape through the underground railroad)
  2. Help your child create a personal interest in the topic they are learning about by giving them questions such as “Why do you think people are interested in learning chemistry?”; “Why do chemists work in their field?”; “What keeps them motivated?”
  3. Have a note pad/journal, camera or drawing pad available to help your child track how they feel and think about their observations
  4. Allow your child to learn how to experience different experiences or emotions that others may experience

Now that you have an idea of what type of learner your child is and how you can assist them with their learning, it will be helpful for you to observe where your learner struggles when completing homework/work tasks.  When you identify those areas, you will need to focus on using flexible strategies (for example, using the strategies from another learning style that is best suited for your child; coming up with an idiosyncratic technique that identifies with your child’s understanding) so that your child can continue to strengthen their limitations while concurrently grasping the material.  I would lastly like to discuss the many types of career options that can emphasize your learner’s certain skill sets.  Here is a list of careers that play to your learner’s strengths:

Careers that emphasize your linguistic learner’s skills:

  • Teacher
  • Public speaker
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Translator
  • Poet
  • Writer
  • Journalist
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Spiritual Leader
  • Sales Manager
  • Stock Broker

Careers that emphasize your logical/mathematical learner’s skills:

  • Stock Broker
  • Financial Planner
  • Auditor
  • Accountant
  • Scientist
  • Purchasing agent
  • Underwriter
  • Mathematician
  • Economist
  • Statistician
  • Actuary
  • Computer analyst
  • Computer programming and design
  • Chemical engineer
  • Architecture
  • Technician
  • Glazier
  • Bookkeeper
  • Science teacher
  • Mortgage Broker

Careers that emphasize your kinesthetic learner’s skills:

  • Physical Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Dancer, Martial Artist, Athletic coach or Trainer
  • Carpenter, Landscaper or Painter
  • Artist Work: Metal Worker, Wood Craftsman, Potter, Clothing Designer
  • Emergency Rescue Worker
  • Fire fighter
  • Police officer
  • Military
  • Surgeon
  • Mechanic
  • Construction Worker
  • Hair Dresser

Careers that emphasize your musical learner’s skills:

  • Speech Pathologist
  • Musician
  • Composer
  • Music conductor
  • Music composer
  • Music technician (plays, movies, etc.)
  • DJ
  • Music teacher

Careers that emphasize your visual/spatial learner’s skills:

  • Photographer
  • Art director
  • Architecture
  • Designer
  • Planner
  • Careers in navigation
  • Film director
  • Event Planner
  • Hair Dresser
  • Mortgage Broker
  • Glazier

Careers that emphasize your naturalist learner’s skills:

  • Conservationalist
  • Landscaper
  • Master Gardener
  • Nutritionalist
  • Archeologist
  • Farmer
  • Animal trainer
  • Botanist
  • Biologist
  • Chef
  • Zoologist
  • Fisherman
  • Travel Agent

Careers that emphasize your interpersonal/social learner’s skills:

  • Teacher
  • Therapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Police Officer
  • Criminologist
  • Interviewer
  • Human Resource professional
  • Sociologist
  • Travel agent
  • Concierge
  • Coach
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Event Planner
  • Entrepreneur
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Travel Agent
  • Hotel Management
  • Hospitality Services

Careers that emphasize your intrapersonal learner’s skills:

  • Actor
  • Author
  • Detective
  • Film director
  • Counselor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Social worker
  • Theorist
  • Personal trainer
  • Biographer
  • Researcher

As a parent you have the ability to choose the best learning setting for your child whether it be a public, private or charter school.  Now that you have knowledge of the different learning styles, you don’t have to rely only on your child’s teachers to help your child thrive…you can assist in your child’s learning process too.  Your child is an individual and may not fit into one category of learning style and it would be beneficial to have flexibility when helping your child learn.  By observing your child’s strengths and areas of growth, you will be able to choose the best learning technique and school setting to help them thrive.  If you need assistance with helping your child, we here at The Center for Growth can help.  We are only a phone call away.