Teachers are trained to recognize distinct learning styles in students, but it can be helpful for parents and caregivers to be aware of children’s learning styles when helping with homework and other tasks. Below are seven recognized learning preferences based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences:
- Visual-Spatial: These students think in terms of space and learn best through visual representations. They like to use models, graphics, charts, photos, and videos to learn new material. Visual-spatial learners like to do puzzles, draw, and read maps.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: Dancers, surgeons, and athletes tend to fall into this category. These students thrive on movement, touching, body language, and hands-on creating. They learn best with physical activities, tools, real objects, and role playing.
- Musical: Musical students are sensitive to sounds and rhythms. They learn by turning material into songs, chants, jingles, or by putting information into rhythms. They may prefer to study with music in the background.
- Interpersonal: These students learn best in group settings and through interaction with others. They like time and attention from the teacher, conferencing, and email. Group study sessions are great for interpersonal learners.
- Intrapersonal: Intrapersonal learners are independent and learn best when left to their own devices. They understand their own interests, goals, needs, and feelings. These students enjoy privacy and like to read and keep diaries. They can often learn a lot through independent study.
- Linguistic: Linguistic learners think in words and have excellent auditory skills. Reading, word games, poetry, and stories are interesting to linguistic learners. They learn well with books, lectures, and games.
- Logical-Mathematical: These students are often logical and apply calculations and reasoning to many situations or problems. They easily see patterns and like to solve puzzles. They are very concrete thinkers and should be given clear examples and concepts before moving on to details.
Most learners have more than one learning preference, and all areas should be encouraged. Finding the dominant area and helping your child learn through those particular set of strengths, however, can help him or her learn more successfully.
Which learning styles do your children fall under and why?