Learning Styles for Teens, and all ages

Having been a former elementary school teacher, it was stressed to us to present the material to our students in the ways that worked best for them. This may seem to be a "no-brainer" on an individual basis; however, in a classroom this was no easy task. Everyone has a different learning style and I found it so interesting as well as useful when, after teaching a lesson, a student may approach me privately and tell me they didn't understand it. Based on the way they learn best, according to their learning style, I was able to help the student in an individualized and personal manner, in their own learning style.

Totally confused? Don't be. http://www.metamath.com/lsweb/dvclearn.htm is the website I have used to best explain the concept.

Your learning style is the way you prefer to learn. It doesn't have anything to do with how intelligent you are or what skills you have learned. It has to do with how your brain works most efficiently to learn new information. Your learning style has been with you since you were born.

There's no such thing as a "good" learning style or a "bad" learning style. Success comes with many different learning styles. There is no "right" approach to learning. We all have our own particular way of learning new information. The important thing is to be aware of the nature of your learning style. If you are aware of how your brain best learns, you have a better chance of studying in a way that will pay off when it's time to take that dreaded exam.

Visual, Auditory, or Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner.
To get you started thinking about your learning style, think about the way in which you remember a phone number. Do you see, in your mind's eye, how the numbers look on the phone? Or can you "see" the number on that piece of paper, picturing it exactly as you wrote it down? You might be a Visual Learner. Or, perhaps you can "hear" the number in the way that someone recited it to you. In this case, you might be an Auditory Learner. If you "let your fingers do the walking" on the phone, i.e. your fingers dial the number without looking at the phone, you may be a Tactile/ Kinesthetic Learner.

This way of looking at learning style uses the different channels of perception (seeing, hearing, touching/moving) as its model. This is a somewhat simplistic view of a very complicated subject (the human brain). However, looking at learning style from a perceptual point of view is a useful place to begin.

Match Your Learning Style and Strategies
While there is no "good" or "bad" learning style, there can be a good or bad match between the way you best learn and the way a particular course is taught. Suppose you are a Visual Learner enrolled in a traditional lecture course. You feel that the instructor drones on for hours and you can't pay attention or stay interested in the class. There's a mismatch here between your learning style and the instructional environment of the class. As soon as you understand this mismatch, you can find ways to adapt your style to ensure your success in the class. You might start tape recording the lectures so that you don't have to worry about missing important information. You might decide to draw diagrams that illustrate the ideas being presented in lecture. You might go to the Media Center and check out a video to help provide some additional information on course material you're not sure about. What you're doing is developing learning strategies that work for you because they are based on your knowledge of your own learning style.

Parents: Learning styles can best be applied in so many ways. Our children have a way that they best learn, and no matter what idea we are trying to get across to them, if we get that blank stare that kids can often give ;) before frustration hits all of us, think if we are communicating according to the way that they will best understand. It is so difficult to be in a situation, whether child or adult, where you are so lost that you don't even know what questions to ask! (been there!) Sometimes it's simple enough to fix just by changing the way you may present it. As teachers, we had to make sure, also, that we did not present things only in OUR learning style. The student is first, and it's easy to slip back into our own comfort zone. The same with our children.

Homeschooling and teachers: Teens, kids, adults all have a learning style. Do you find that you need to take copious notes? Do you learn best by listening? Combination of both? Do you need an experiment to make your science lesson come to life? Do you need an experiment to be done before you feel comfortable teaching? ALL different styles of learning and presenting.

I recommend all of us take the learning survey. If you are homeschooling, find out your child's learning style, as well as your own! Use them together so that your child can better understand your style as well. After all, we know he/she will not encounter people that only have their learning style. But to recognize it and be aware is enlightening for all. So on your leisure time (what?? ;) go to the website and enjoy finding out the ways your child best expresses herself. From early homeschool through teens, it can all be applied. Find your style also. Enjoy, and learn while knowing the style of those you live with, work with, and/or present to.

By the way: Before 50, that glazed look of one of my children might have driven me up one side of the wall and down the other (hah!) and now I can work with situations more effectively in dealing with them in the way that would better work for them. It doesn't come over night, but it works!



Jessica @FoundtheMarbles said...

I didn't really, truly learn my best learning style until college. I wish I had learned it sooner. I'm sure that would have served me well.

Amy said...

Wow! Awesome post. I never realized that I am a kinesthetic learner until I read your post. When I do math in my head I visualize myself writing it on paper. Sometimes I draw it in the air (could also be visual). To memorize a phone #'s and other number sequences I visualize punching them in on the keypad. I had a hard time in grade school. I got good grades, but, even as a young child, I had to work very hard. At that time I don't think many schools understood the importance of kinesthetic learning.
BTW-I'm visiting from Thoughtful Thursday. I'd love a comment here.

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

This is quite thorough - thanks for the food for thought! I've done some research in this area, but am always interested in more. Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day :-).

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Hi! Following back from www.MeasuringFlower.com! Have a great day! :-D

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My Beautiful World said...

Great post so nice to meet you. I have just found your lovely blog through the blog hop this weekend wonderful to join in. I'm now following you hope you visit me and follow back so nice to find new friends to catch up with. Have a great day.
Always Wendy

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Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog & commenting. Learning styles are a bit different from multiple intelligences, but a basic understanding of both principles will definitely help us homeschool our children more effectively.