Experts tend to agree that there are three main styles of learning; visual, auditory and tactile. It’s important to figure out what type of learner you are, and what your children are, in order to better support their learning.
It’s important that parents first figure out what their learning style is, because it could easily differ from their child’s. If this is the case, they could fall into the trap of emphasising or pushing a style of learning that isn’t going to work.
Here’s how to spot the different learning styles, and how best to support them:
While almost everybody tends to respond to a combination of learning styles, the majority of people tend to fall more strongly into the ‘visual learner’ category, meaning they absorb information by seeing it. They typically love books and reading, relate best to written information and like to take notes. They’re normally good at spelling and like a quiet place to study.
To support this type of learner, use post it notes for writing information and place them around the house. Make sure your child sits close to the front of the class and encourage them to use highlighters and to underline. Use flashcards and draw mind-maps to explain bigger concepts. Encourage them to copy down what’s written on the board.
Auditory learners make up about 30 per cent of the population and they absorb through listening. They tend to be the talkative kids in class who prefer giving oral reports than written ones and who enjoy debate. Parents can best support this kind of learner by reading textbooks aloud, having them repeat facts with their eyes closed, using word association tricks and watching videos.
Tactile learners are the rarest type of learner, and they absorb information best by doing. They need to be moving or active and find it difficult to sit still. They learn best by taking lots of breaks, engaging in hands-on activities and excursions – where they can use their hands and move around. And they don’t usually like desks!
Mathletics appeals to many learning styles, particularly visual and tactile. Students are able to see visual representations of maths problems, as well as actively engaging with the questions and manipulating objects on screen at any time of day.
But remember, while focusing on the specific learning style of your child, don’t forget to also combine elements from the other styles so they can develop a range of skills.