Whew! There were more learning styles to cover than I initially thought. The more research I did, the more styles I uncovered. But, along the way I was able to combine many of them together – they are the same style, just called by a different name depending on which study you are looking at. Here is a list of the styles I covered:
So, what can we do with this info as teachers, parents, or both? First of all, it’s helpful to know how to define a learning style. A learning style is the consistent way that someone responds to information in the context of learning. Knowing more about learning styles is like having another tool in your toolbox to help your child(ren) process information more efficiently.
Most children show a preference for one of the styles mentioned above, but it is not uncommon for children to have more than one, or to have one that is dominant and another one or two that are secondary.
You, as an adult, will also have a learning style preference. It’s common for parents and children to have different styles, so it’s helpful to know where you fit in here. If you know what your style is, and what your children’s (or student’s) styles are, you will be able to help them learn more effectively.
For adults, there are several online quizzes you can take that will show you what your learning style is. Just Google phrases like “learning styles quiz” to find one. For children, you can find quizzes by Googling “children learning styles quiz” or other similar phrases. We can also learn a lot about children’s learning styles just by observing them.
It can be tempting to want to just “label” a child with a style and then try to fit everything into that mold. But kids are growing and changing, and with different seasons of life, different learning methods may work better than others. No one style is better or worse than another; just different. All kids love to learn, regardless of the way they prefer to learn.
Especially in the early years, the Montessori concept of “following the child” is extremely helpful. A child will be drawn to the materials that “speak” to them. A Montessori or homeschool environment has a definite advantage here, as children usually have the freedom to choose the work that they do. If we notice that a child is particularly attracted to one type of material, we can build off of that by introducing new work that uses the same teaching modality in a different way.
We can also encourage a child to “branch out” and try a new way of learning that they may not choose on their own – a great way to do this is to have one child help another with a task or material. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey – I learned a lot about myself and my own kids while I was researching!