The Parading Pigeon| The Importance of Knowing Your Child’s Learning Style

by Melissa on May 31, 2010

Early in my career, I had a student who drove me absolutely bonkers.

We were studying urban wildlife. Most kids read books about these animals, or drew or talked about them. But this kiddo would go in circles around the room, imitating her animal.

She really had it down. The way she walked paired with her ability to jerk her head quickly back and forth, enabled her to perfectly mimic a pigeon walking down a city sidewalk. And, if she was behind you and decided to “talk” like a pigeon, you’d honestly jump a little thinking that one had somehow gotten into the bungalow!

At the time, it would’ve been so helpful to me if I would’ve understood more about different learning styles. I’ve been pretty fascinated in the past few years reading about how the brain effects behavior.

Our behaviors and activities are controlled by different parts of the brain. People who are gifted in different areas also have well-developed parts of the brain that directly relate to their gifts.

“Why is this important information for me to know?” you might be asking yourself.

The simple answer is this: when you know which parts of your kiddo’s brain are the most well-developed, it can help you and their teachers to teach them things in a way that will come very naturally to them.

There are three types of learners: auditory, visual, and kinesthestic (these guys learn by doing). Some of us are combinations.

There are tests that we all can take to find out which parts of our brain are the most dominant. We can also get clues by watching what our little peanuts are naturally drawn to do for fun, in their free time.

Our visual learners can usually be found watching people do things before they take a chance at them. They’re often our painters who can be found playing a musical instrument or a computer game.

Auditory learners are thoughtful. They listen to what their teacher or parent tells them before trying an activity. They are drawn to books, and usually like to talk on the phone, IM, or listen to music

My little peanut that was bouncing off the walls, running around imitating animals, dancing, trying to do a project without reading the directions, and always wanted to run and jump and build was a kinesthetic learners. These guys are often the ones who suffer the most in schools that don’t have a curriculum designed to help them use their natural strengths!

It hurts my heart to think back on the early days, when I didn’t understand what was going on with their brains. I felt helpless, and couldn’t figure out why it was so hard for me to reach them.

Now I know how to teach to those strengths and design activities that will help them shine!

So, that’s a little preview to what we’ll be talking about in June. We’ll be sharing tips on how to help your child be successful by building on their natural learning styles.

We’ll also be sharing some exciting ways to actually make different parts of our brain stronger by doing activities that activate the parts that are not-so-strong naturally.

Life would’ve been so much more delightful for me and my “little pigeon,” had I known what you’re about to learn. We hope you enjoy!

Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.

{ 1 comment }

Jim June 1, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I think I was/am a visual learner. I always lived in my head too much be an auditory learner. It was difficult to listen to what I was being told as I was normally day dreaming about other things. I find that being a visual learner is not only important in the classroom, but also in life. I’m always quick to watch someone do something and then learn to do or not to do it depending on their outcome! I heard a quote once that said, “A smart person learns from his mistakes, but a genius learns from other people’s mistakes.” I think this is an example of a visual learner.