If your child is struggling in school, or even in just one class, this does not mean that your child is not extremely intelligent. Everyone is different. Each person has different opinions, tastes, and motivations. As a result, not everyone learns in the same style.
Techniques for studying that work wonders for one student, may be completely ineffective with another student. This does not mean that one student is necessarily smarter than another, merely that each student learns differently. It is critical that instructors, parents, and tutors know the learning style of their students in order to maximize a student’s understanding of the material being covered. Otherwise, a very bright intelligent student may get discouraged and lose motivation to succeed in school, simply because the information is not being presented to them in the most effective manner.
Unfortunately, due to large classroom sizes, overworked instructors, and overworked parents it has become very difficult to reach every student effectively in a classroom type setting. Since many instructors also have one learning style that they are most familiar with, they tend to teach towards that style and inadvertently miss students with other learning styles. That is why it is so important for parents, tutors, and the students themselves to know the learning style of their children so they can help the student achieve academic success.
There are four distinct learning styles. Some students fit neatly into one category and some students may process information in a variety of ways. There is no ‘better or worse’ learning style, just different styles.
1. The Visual / Verbal Learning Style
Students with this learning style learn when information is presented visually and in a written language format. Instructors who use a blackboard, overhead, or presentation to emphasize and outline their lessons are most effective at reaching these students. Additionally, these students can benefit greatly from textbooks and notes. The best way to study for these individuals is usually alone in a quiet room where they can visualize the information in their “mind’s eye” to remember the lesson.
2. The Visual / Nonverbal Learning Style
Students with this learning style learn when information is presented visually and in a picture or design format. Instructors who use visual aids (film, video, maps, charts, diagrams, etc) are most effective at reaching these students. These students tend to benefit from pictures and diagrams in textbooks. The best way to study for these individuals is usually alone in a quiet room where they can visualize a picture of the lesson in their mind.
3. The Tactile / Kinesthetic Learning Style
Students with this learning style learn when they have to actively participate in the lesson. Instructors who incorporate in-class demonstrations, “hands on” student learning experiences, and field work outside of the classroom tend to be most effective at reaching these students. Physically engaging in “hands on” activity tends to be the best way for these students to learn the material.
4. The Auditory / Verbal Learning Style
Students with this learning style learn when information is presented in an auditory fashion such as an oral presentation. Instructors who utilize lecture time and encourage group discussions are the most effective at reaching these students. The best way to study for these individuals is by listening to recorded audio tapes or by interacting with others in a listening/speaking exchange so that the material can be remembered by ‘hearing’ the way someone told the information out loud.
Students who are struggling in school can usually benefit from one-on-one personal help with someone who understands their learning style and will tailor their teaching style to the students needs. With one-on-one teaching an instructor, parent, or tutor can easily modify their lesson to suit the needs of that individual child, which is nearly impossible to do in a large classroom setting. Once a child’s learning style is discovered, that child can easily achieve academic success, raising their motivation and confidence in themselves.
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