What Is Your Learning Style?
That’s a great question, don’t you think? What exactly is your learning style?
“Oh, come on Russy,” I hear you saying. “It’s the middle of summer, for heaven’s sake. Why do you have to spoil our fun by bringing up school and learning styles?”
Yes, it’s true. For many people, summer is a time for relaxation and for getting away from anything that even remotely looks, sounds, smells, tastes or feels like school. However, some students may need this time to catch up with their peers as they lag behind in certain subjects. Still others find that summer is a great opportunity to take a course in something of interest, not because they have to but because they want to. (can you imagine – wanting to learn something in the middle of summer?)
So is this what I mean by ‘learning style’… your preference either for or against school? No, not exactly. However, your approach will often be a great indicator of why you even have a preference. Whether you ‘get’ something in class or not; whether you find the lessons interesting or boring depends very heavily on your type. It’s very important that you understand how you learn best. It’s even more important that you let others know your dominant characteristics so they can deliver information in the way that you understand.
There are three primary ways that people ingest information. However, this subject goes very deep. My wife Maggie is currently taking a course on Life Skills Training where they bandy about terms like Converger, Diverger, Assimilator, and Accommodator.
Hello? You’re looking for doctorate dissertations? That would be three blogs down on the right, just past the Sesquipedalian Academy.
Let’s see, where were we now? Oh, yes – the three primary modes of learning.
The ‘Show Me’ Approach
As the title suggests, visual learners need to see everything that’s going on in order to fully absorb the lesson. This includes the teacher’s facial expression and body language. You’ll find the people with a visual predilection typically sitting in the front of the class so there are no obstructions between themselves and the lesson.
Visual learners think in pictures so they love graphics, diagrams, illustrations, videos and handouts. They tend to take a lot of notes complete with doodles and drawings to help internalize concepts more quickly. Of the three primary learning styles, visual learners are the biggest group.
The ‘Tell Me’ Group
Next we have auditory learners, those who comprehend best by hearing what is taught. For these people, how something is said is just as important as what is actually said. Vocal tone, pitch, speed and other voice variables help students with an auditory inclination to interpret critical context that they otherwise will completely miss through mere reading alone.
With hearing and listening as the primary pathway to understanding, individuals with an auditory learning style can benefit greatly from reading aloud and using recording and playback devices.
The ‘Let Me Try’ Method
Finally we have the tactile/kinesthetic learner who acquires information through touching, moving and doing. These are the ‘hands-on’ people who need to get a feel for things… literally. Students with a kinesthetic predisposition can’t seem to sit still very long as they need to actively explore in order to understand their world.
Kinesthetic learners make up the smallest group of the three primary learning styles. They excel in activities such as lab experiments, drama classes and sports.
So Where Do You Fit In?
Back in the old days, if you were a kinesthetic squirming in a class led by a visual teacher, you’d more than likely have a big problem. More correctly, you WERE the problem! Because you found your teacher boring and just couldn’t sit still, you were labeled as having something ‘wrong’ with you.
Fortunately, different learning styles are better understood and today’s teachers are thoroughly trained in delivering their lessons using multiple methods. Still, it is to your advantage to discover your own tendencies and convey that information to your teacher. Who knows, by next summer you may want to relax less and explore more as you discover that learning is definitely in style!
You gotta Love That Feeling!
The world can seem like a crazy place sometimes…
OK, a LOT of the time!