The following article is excerpted from What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management? by Leslie Josel, People Tested Books, Pennington, NJ, 2015.
How we process information, organize our thoughts, and lay down that learning is called our “learning style,” and every individual learns in a slightly different way.
Learning styles begin to crystallize during the middle-school years, with one style usually becoming more dominant than the others. Understanding the learning style that works best for your child will serve you well when advocating with his team at school and as you work with him at home to help him manage his time and become more organized.
What’s Your Child’s Style?
Since the early 1970s researchers have been studying individual learning styles and have settled on these four:
- Visual learners rely on what they see. They benefit from illustrations and visual presentations, are good readers, and take copious notes. They respond best to instruction that includes reading, graphs, and videos. They also learn by watching what others do (including you!).
- Auditory learners absorb information by listening. They remember best by verbalizing new information, like to read aloud, and can learn in a noisy environment. They benefit most from instruction based on discussion and questioning. For example, explaining each part of a process and how individual steps should be done will help them remember the information.
- Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. They enjoy hands-on instruction, using manipulatives, role-playing, or building things. Touch and movement are critical for these learners to absorb information. They also remember what was done, not necessarily what was seen or heard. Therefore, a useful strategy for these types of learners is for them to teach you.
- Tactile learners like to use their hands and fingers to learn. These children learn best by writing, drawing, and doodling. They tend to touch or feel objects when learning a new concept and illustrate what they’ve learned.
To learn your child’s learning style, the best approach is to step back and observe what seems to be working well for him, and then build from there.
Children struggle when they try to learn in ways that aren’t natural to them. Remember that there isn’t one correct way to teach, just as there isn’t one correct way to learn. Knowing and understanding your child’s learning style is crucial to helping him grasp information at school and at home.
Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing. She is the author of What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management and the creator of the award-winning Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management. To learn more, visit www.orderoochaos.com.