VAK Learning StylesYou’ve probably seen the opposite of this three wise monkeys image numerous times. In fact, it’s been around for at least 400 years. Learning styles reflect a similar concept. But, contrary to popular belief, learning styles aren’t so much a way to identify how to put things in into your mind, but more of a filing system to help you retrieve things you’ve learned as quickly as possible. Your child will still need to have a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter, which means absorbing it through visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities whenever possible…but he can use his preferred “shorthand” to file it in a way that he can pull it out as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Why is this important? Most tests (including the standardized, high-stakes variety) are timed. So every edge you can give your child to help pull out the knowledge he has worked so hard to learn is important.

Think back on your last vacation. What do you remember first? What you saw? What you heard? What you felt or did? You took in memories through all your senses, but one sense resurfaced fastest. Similarly, your child will remember one aspect of a concept first/fastest.

If a child relates to the world by the way it FEELS…and talks about what they FELT more than what they saw or heard, the student naturally prefers to recall information KINESTHETICALLY.

If Your Child Learns Best By Doing…

  • Have your child work through in-class assignments (e.g., math problems) standing up on a sliding glass door or mirrored closet door.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about allowing him to take notes or diagram lessons on paper as the teacher lectures.
  • Allow your child to take movement breaks or stretch every 15 minutes or so while completing homework.
  • If you have access to a stationary bike or large exercise ball, encourage your child to read homework assignments while riding it or bouncing on it, pace while doing test prep, or take a walk when brainstorming an essay or writing assignment.
  • Encourage your child to learn the alphabet in sign language, so that he can more easily cement spelling words and mnemonics in memory.
  • Use Touch Math to make addition and subtraction tasks easier.
  • Use manipulatives like legos or jelly beans to change abstract concepts like 2 + 3 = 5 into concrete tasks (2 jelly beans and 3 jelly beans makes 5 jelly beans).
  • Have your child “teach” the concept that the class is learning to you prior to test or quiz day.

To Learn More About Why We Feel Cognitive Style Preferences Are Important, Click Here →