Sunday, November 22, 2009

Utilize all the Learning Styles to Teach

It can be hard to determine which program will be the most effective for the way a child learns. While their primary way of learning maybe one style they may prefer to learn, say math utilizing another. I found this out the hard way and that was when I started allowing the children choices about what programs they felt would be best for them. This has saved us time, money and frustration. It is not always smooth sailing and this is when another learning style is utilized to back up information which has been perceived, yet is not clear. Sticking with math as the example how could an educator incorporate all three learning styles? Audio is easy because you are talking to the student, however other forms of audio might serve better for a student, such as a CD. To see math instructors could utilize measuring cups to find out which is more a 1/2 or a 1/4. Other items around the house could become manipulatives, we used the boys small animals. We also use a dry erase board to really break down concepts. The above suggestions would also fall into the kinetic learning style as well as visual. Some programs incorporate both audio and visual, Math U See is one of them. Computer programs incorporate all three learning styles, but I recommend utilizing these as a supplement and not as a main program. The one thing that I did with my children when it came to math was to utilize their interest. It was amazing how quickly concepts were grasped when we were subtracting games or cookies. Spending time with students allows the educator to get a better understanding of how a child learns best. It is especially important to listen to what children say, think and feel about the programs they are using. If they are not happy with it they will have a much harder time learning. Chose a variety (I usually do three) of programs for a subject then sit down with the child and let them chose. While math was utilized for this discussion a little bit of creativity is all that is needed to incorporate all the learning styles for any subject.

While I like to include links for all my blogs, I was saddened not to find any articles which I felt would be beneficial. If anyone knows of some or one please comment on this post.

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