Understanding Your Child's Learning Style
Knowing your child's own learning style can assure academic success. Here's what to look for.
Learning Styles: Identifying Your Child's Strengths continued...
"Some people are more visual and need pictures to learn, while print learners need print," she explains.
Another aspect of learning style involves the environment, she says. For example, noise, temperature or lighting may affect some children's ability to learn.
"For one child, temperature might not make a difference, but some children can't concentrate if it's too hot, and/or lighting can be a crucial factor for some people if fluorescent lighting causes eyestrain," she says.
Learning Styles: Playing to Your Child's Strengths
Once you have identified your child's learning style, you can begin to build on his or her strengths to compensate for learning weaknesses -- without labels.
"If a little girl has a lot of spatial problems (difficulty picturing things), but is terrific in English, she can learn math by putting everything into her own words," Levine explains. "If you show her an equilateral triangle and ask her to talk about it, boy, will she understand it.
"She can only understand things in words, which is why she is such a terrific English student."
Another way to enhance learning is to focus on your child's affinities and areas of interest.
"A lot of strength could ride on the coattails of their passions, and you can build academic skills in that area," Levine says. "Have him became an expert in the area that he feels passionate about."
Pelullo-Willis agrees. "Parents really should encourage children's interests, talents and what they love to do," she says. "Parents tend to say 'If you are not doing well in school, you can't take horseback riding lessons,' but those are things that can build self-esteem.
Further, she says, "acknowledging and honoring their interests and talents tells you a lot about their learning style. If your child is really interested in plants and gardening, you can see if they are more hands-on and they need to go out there and garden. Or do they learn better from pictures about gardening, or reading about gardening?"
Learning Styles: Increasing Awareness in Schools
As it stands, schools mainly teach to print, auditory and language learners, according to Pelullo-Willis.