One size never fits all, and the way in which we learn is different for all of us. However, educational psychologists have suggested that we tend towards one of three basic learning styles – and that understanding your child’s learning style can enable him or her to enjoy an enhanced learning experience.
Pupils are primarily a visual learner, an auditory learner or a kinaesthetic learner, according to the proponents of the theory – and understanding which can help us to understand how each pupil is best engaged with learning.
A number of measures are used to determine the learning style for which a person has a preference, including Neil Fleming’s VARK Questionnaire. However, the first step to determining your child’s preference is usually simply asking them whether they find it easiest to learn from seeing and reading, from hearing and speaking or from physical activity (‘doing’).
Of course, it may be that a person enjoys a combination of learning styles or prefers one learning style for one subject and a different learning style for another. However, if a child expresses a clear preference, tailoring lessons and activities accordingly may provide a great boost to the pupil’s learning and achievement.
The Visual Learner
It is thought that the majority of people are visual learners, meaning they have a preference for seeing, and enjoy using images to understand and organise information. They can usually visualise objects with ease and remember images and colours clearly. Visual learners often also have good spatial awareness, and can find their way with maps.
Visual learners may tend to remember faces but not names; may be good at spelling as they remember the way the word looks when written; may have to pause and think before understanding verbal instructions or lectures; and may be drawn to art, architecture and/or photography.
Visual learners respond best to visual learning techniques: the use of images, charts, diagrams, timelines, hand-outs , videos, and PowerPoint presentations can help visual learners to process and retain information.
Allowing visual learners to ‘doodle’ when listening to information can also aid their processing, as can providing different colour highlighters so that they can highlight important words and ideas.
The Auditory Learner
The second most common preference is for an auditory learning style, meaning a propensity for understanding spoken information and conveying information orally.
While visual learners remember how information looked when they want to recall something, auditory learners tend to remember how information sounded: the sound of their tutor’s voice as they delivered their lesson or their friend telling them their phone number. They may enjoy listening to lectures, speeches, presentations as well as taking part in discussions.
Auditory learners tend to be the best at oral and aural exams. They also often have a talent for music, storytelling and for presentations. However, they may struggle to comprehend written instructions and need to read them out loud in order to process the words; they may also find they need to talk to themselves or move their lips while performing tasks or remembering information.
Auditory learners are thought to learn best when ideas are explained to them and they are allowed to ask questions and discuss the subject. They may also benefit from recording lessons so that they can play them back and watching videos.
The Kinaesthetic Learner
The kinaesthetic learner learns through doing or experiencing. The typical kinaesthetic learner is good at sports and enjoys ‘hands on’ learning techniques, and is likely to become bored if forced to sit still and listen or watch something. They are active learners.
Kinaesthetic learners recall information by remembering the way they moved or something felt as they learned it, e.g. how they positioned their foot when they scored a goal or the movement across their phone pad as they keyed in their friend’s phone number.
Kinaesthetic learners require an active learning experience, and allowing them to act out scenarios or go on field trips or museum visits can help them greatly. They also are often good sportspeople and efforts should be made to find the sport or activity which suits them and in which they can achieve and even excel.
Everyone Is an Individual
“Home-School Tutoring understands that all children are unique and that appreciating learning styles can help tutors to tailor their approach to each child’s individual needs,” says Margaret Sweetland, Director of Home-School Tutoring.
Home-School Tutoring has provided quality home tuition for over 25 years. A rigorous registration procedure ensures that all tutors are suitably qualified, certificates of qualifications are verified, references are obtained, and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks are made to verify all tutors’ suitability.
To find out how Home-School Tutoring’s private tutors can help your child get to grips with any subject, please contact your local Area Advisor.
You can find your local Area Advisor by browsing our locations or entering your postcode or nearest town in the search box above.
Home-School Tutoring is also currently inviting applications from qualified tutors interested in joining Home-School Tutoring. See Become a Tutor for details.