Each person has his/her own unique combination of learning style
preferences which can make learning easier. The key
is to find out what your learning preferences are and learn to
work with them. Below is a summary of various learning
styles and how to study using each style. Remember that
most of us use a combination of learning styles.
Auditory learners learn
best through their ears. They learn by listening, having
someone explain things, studying out loud, listening to tapes,
etc. Auditory learners must listen carefully in class and often
understand difficult reading assignments if they read out loud.
They need verbal explanations in math and science. Auditory
learners need to talk to themselves and listen to others talking
Visual learners learn best
by seeing or reading. Studying for visual learners
often involves flash cards or reading explanations (especially
in math or science). Graphic note-taking techniques help
visual learners remember.
Tactile learners learn best
by writing or illustrating. Studying for a
tactile learner should involve writing out and doing practice
problems, rewriting notes, keeping a journal, etc. Tactile
learners seem to learn best with a pen or pencil.
Kinesthetic learners learn
best by doing or moving. Using money or measuring
to learn fractions and decimals works well as does acting out
roles in literature and doing the action words you're learning
in foreign language. Kinesthetic learners learn best while
Students must learn to work
with all learning styles in order to adapt to different learning
situations. If you have certain styles that don't work
at all for you, you may have trouble in a class in which the
teacher expects you to work with his/her teaching style.
It's important to not only know yourself, but also be able to
adapt to various learning situations.
Learning preferences change
and evolve with training and practice. Good students can
generally adapt to various teaching styles in the classroom and
use their preferred styles when studying at home.
No matter what your preferred
learning style, the habits you develop for studying will impact
how effectively and efficiently you use your study time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much should I get involved when
my child gets stuck on homework?
A. It depends. Younger children may need more
assistance than older ones. The most important assistance
you can give any child is encouragement and support. NEVER
do your child's homework. Doing someone else's homework
is stealing from them: stealing the opportunity to learn.
Some students need to hear explanations several times in order
to "get it." It doesn't hurt to explain, but
it helps more to have your child explain it to you. That
also helps you know where the gaps are. If your child is
so stuck they're falling behind, contact the teacher. He/she
needs feedback on what the students need help with.
Q. My child is smart but isn't getting good grades.
A. Underachievers, those who can but don't, challenge
parents and educators alike. It's important to determine
if your child is underachieving in all areas of life or just
school. If your child doesn't do his/her chores, always
has excuses, only does what pleases him/her, you are dealing
with a character issue. Your child needs to learn perseverance
which is a very difficult lesson to learn. In this case,
we can help with study skills but I recommend working with a
therapist who is experienced in working with underachievers.
If, however, your child is basically hard-working, you probably
are facing a lack of skills. This can make a student feel stupid
and they may give up. In this case, enrolling in a study skills
course could really change things around.