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Learning Styles

03 Jan

A big buzz phrase in home education (or any type of education for that matter) is learning styles (and there are many other terms for this).  It is helpful when teaching/tutoring someone to know how they learn best so that you can tailor their learning towards this style. 

When I started homeschooling, this was one of the things that I researched.  There are all sorts of sites with quizzes and useful information to determine learning styles.  There is so much information out there that it can make your head spin.

While all of this information can be beneficial, I have discovered, from experience, that you can determine your child’s learning styles on your own and without fancy labels. Over time, as you educate your child, informally or formally, you begin to pick up on their learning styles. This one does better learning by the computer, one does better reading textbooks, one does better discussing or listening to a lecture or audio. All this you pick up naturally.

There are many sites out there that give suggestions for activities for each type of learner. This can be quite helpful, I know sometimes feel at a loss as to how to get this one to open up to what he’s studying. But, quite naturally, you can learn to tailor your child’s learning experiences according to that ability.  Have you ever noticed how sometimes games turn into learning experiences that you didn’t even plan.  You just picked up on something that interested your child or a way that he likes to take in information and ran with it.

And your child may not be just one type of learner, probably no one is. And learning style may depend on the subject being learned. Although a child may not be a hands on learner in most instances, its possible that a person who does well by reading would do better with science with hands on activities to see a concept in action as opposed to just reading about it.  I am not an educational professional, but I don’t think we should get caught up with labels so much or labeling a child as just one type of learner. By doing so, we may be actually limiting a child’s learning experience instead of nurturing it as we had intended.

I also think that even if a child is not strong at one type of learning, we should not try to exclude that from his learning experience altogether.  It may be that one day as an adult, he may not have a choice as to how certain information is learned and if he hasn’t had ample exposure to that specific mode of learning that could hamper his ability to learn what is required of him. 

My point is not to discount all the information that is out there, it can be very helpful. But if you find yourself getting sucked in by all that information (and it can be very easy), step back and take a breather and realize that you have a lot of knowledge about your own child right with you, now, whatever his age, and you don’t need a test to tell you what kind of learner he is.  You know what type of activities your child likes to do and you can be creative and infuse learning into those activities or even tailor your more structured learning towards those type of activities as well. 

When it comes to your own child, you are the expert.

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1 Comment

Posted by on January 3, 2008 in Teaching Tips

 

One response to “Learning Styles

  1. Oum Anas

    January 3, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Assalamu aleikum

    I’ve learned that we have several “learning styles”, too, mashaa Allah, by observation. On memletics.com (I think) they have a test (more for grown-ups than children) that shows with a points system how well you learn by all the known kinds of intelligence. But like you say, we may absorb a certain topic best in one way, and when it comes to another topic it’s better to take a different approach altogether.

    I also agree that we should work on the learning methods that we’re less good at. Not only because we may need it in the future (and we most probably do), but also so as to be the best we can in every way.

    We change with time also, e.g children are said to be more hands-on while young. It’s a matter of going with the flow, somewhat.

     
 
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