Demystifying Homeschooling Series : Learning Styles
It may sound trite, but it bears repeating from time to time: children are not the same. They all have different personalities, different perspectives, and different preferences – particularly when it comes to schooling. It stands to reason that given the individuality of each child, that individual learning styles should be adopted – ways in which children absorb, process, comprehend, and retain information to best effect.
The homogenised way in which conventional schooling operates, assuming that every child will absorb and process information the same way and at the same speed as their classmates, is often the reason that parents begin to look at home-schooling as an option in the first place. But as a learning coach – or a parent of a home-schooled child – understanding what learning style works best for your student is essential.
Individual learning styles depend on cognitive, emotional, and environmental factors, as well as experience. In other words: everyone is different. It is important for you as a learning coach to understand your students’ learning style, so that they can implement best practice strategies into their daily activities, curriculum, and assessments.
The notion of learning style is important, and indeed it has gained widespread acceptance, even being adopted in mainstream academics, but in many cases, without close, one-on-one support running in conjunction with individualised learning, the theory is less successfully applied.
Students are currently recognised as falling into four learning categories. They are visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learners. These categories are commonly represented by the VARK acronym. This model accepts and acknowledges that students process information in different ways otherwise called ‘preferred learning modes’.
How these modes are addressed has a significant influence on behaviour and learning, and also on comprehension, motivation, and metacognition.
Identifying learning style categories:
Visual learners prefer learning through imagery. Whether this is through photographs, pictograms, maps, or charts – visual thinkers like to see information presented in a processed and visual way to understand it.
Auditory learners use their ears to learn, listening and speaking and learning content through explanation. Aural learners habitually use repetition as a study technique and benefit from the use of mnemonic devices.
READING AND WRITING
Students with a strong reading and writing preference learn best through the written word. Copious note takers and avid readers, they are able to translate abstract words and concepts into words.
Practical and hands-on, kinesthetic learners best understand and absorb information through touch and by figuring things out practically.
By taking the time to understand learning styles and developing teaching techniques which suit the student, you will make the most out of the time you are investing in their education. By making your kids better able to learn, gather information and harness it, you will be able to make informed academic decisions and choose appropriate courses of action and communicate lessons more effectively.