A friend helped me to a realization the other day. About my older boy’s learning style. Visual learning seems to be the most prominent learning style. I also think that since it’s the one remembered and talked about the most, I have forgotten there are other styles let alone what they are.
It seems that the most common ones are: visual, auditory, reading/writing and tactile (or kinesthetic). Tactile means learning by doing. I was worried about my boy being in grade 10 and seeming to have difficulty following written instructions, and not understanding where to start with a research assignment. My friend who had been a teacher, explained that tactile learners have a hard time with only getting visual or written instruction. They disengage and it’s too much to take in. Notes on the board, documentaries or verbal instructions don’t cut it.
I have thought before that they must not teach how to research or look up information, so I have sat with him, and gone through step by step of where to start, looking for clues of what information might be helpful and looking through websites or textbooks together until we find what we need. I worried that I am doing too much and don’t want to make him feel like I am doing it for him. I also don’t want him to rely on mom going step by step through all homework.
You can imagine my intense relief to know that his learning style is ‘doing’ and that by going through the work with him is more helpful. As silly as it may sound, it was a lightbulb moment. Now it feels like it should have been obvious, I should have known to look up what type of learner he is. It hadn’t occurred to me though, of where one would even find that out.
It makes complete sense with his learning style that he is so good at computers and ‘doing’ anything with electronics and gaming. He also is good at math, and enjoys Culinary or foods class in school. He has a harder time with Social Studies and English.
This reminded me of my dad also. Who struggled with some classes at school. He knew immediately in high school that he wanted to pursue Carpentry and work with his hands. He often told us how discouraged he was in school and his experience one year in a French class. He had a hard time learning this. He became determined at one point to get a good mark on a test. He studied and worked so hard to show that he could do it. He got an excellent mark on the test. And then the teacher did a huge disservice to her student. She told him he must have cheated. And just like that, any respect for her and the class she taught was lost. She should have known the impact such an action could have. That kind of accusation for something worked so hard for can threaten any future learning and career and interaction with future teachers. It was a blessing my dad knew his talents, and chose something he loved.
Now that I know this about my boy, I hope to support him and make sure he knows the best ways in which he can learn. So he doesn’t get discouraged and give up before he finds his special talent and the options will be open for him to choose what he loves ~ which he is quite certain will involve gaming. 😉