Every individual learns differently. Children have different methods of learning and are comfortable in using that method. The question, “How kids learn” has been a very common research subject since many years. Many researchers have been researching on individual styles of learning since the early 1970s to understand the various learning patterns that children use.
To understand how your children learn, teachers and parents should first understand the four broad categories of learning styles employed by children. Each style is distinct and exhibits certain identifiable traits.
An estimated 65% of humans are visual learners. They collect information by reading and watching. Usually, visual learners prefer illustrated explanations, graphic organizers or charts instead of spoken instructions. They have a vivid imagination and a photographic memory that helps them remember visual details and pictures of what they see.
Such children mostly learn with the help of illustrations and detailed drawings. They are interested in various inventions and machines and like solving jigsaw puzzles. They are good at reading graphs, maps and charts. All these activities include good visualization skills.
Most auditory learners are talkers and listeners. They verbalize their concepts and think using words. An estimate of 30% of auditory learners process information by repeating it, if only silently, in order to hear it to remember it. They learn well during expressive discussions and can remember names and dates easily. However, they are easily distracted by noise.
Such children can be given directions in the form of a rhyme or song. They enjoy word games which can be used to strengthen their vocabulary. They can also learn using instructional CDs and tapes.
Children who are kinesthetic learners mostly use touch and movement to learn things. They mostly remember things that they do and not just be listening or watching. They have a short attention span in terms of doing schoolwork or listening to someone.
Such children can be taught using hands-on instructions, role-playing and manipulating things. They mostly learn by experimentation and like to tinker with things.
Children who are tactile learners enjoy using their hands and fingers to learn. They are very creative and learn best by drawing and writing. They like to design things and enjoy illustrating written material. Expressing their creativity in the form of painting, drawing or sculpting helps them relax.
To help them learn, adults should provide them a carefree environment where they can touch and feel everything around them and use the material available to do things they like.
Besides these, there are other different styles of learning as well like the analytical style of learning that requires the learner to break down the information into smaller pieces and logically arrange it. Another type is the global learning style and children following this style have a broader approach to everything leaving out the small details.
Parents and teachers should try to keep a watch on their children and observe their habits and preferences while learning. By knowing how your kids learn, you will be able to help them out better and drive them towards success.