Each child is unique. We all know this. You may not know that each child also has his or her own unique learning style. Learning styles can be broken down into 3 main groups: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinetic and tactile learners. Children can have a combination of styles, or they can have predominantly one learning style.
Children who are visual learners do the best in a public school setting. They get to read textbooks(visual input) and see the diagrams and words that the teacher writes on the chalkboard(also visual input). Children who are visual learners are often more quiet than their peers with different learning styles. This means that they are less disruptive in the classroom.
Children who are auditory learners like to talk. However, they can be distracted by noises or by other sounds. In a classroom, children who are auditory learners can cause disruption because they like to talk! For example, a child who is an auditory learner might sound out spelling words or may need to speak the letters to get the words right during a spelling test. Teaching your child to speak very quietly is a great adaptive strategy. She won’t be disrupting the class, but yet she can learn the material in her own way. If your child is easily distracted by other learners, it may be helpful to ask to have her seat moved in the front of the classroom as there will be less distractions.
Kinetic and tactile learners have the most trouble in a traditional classroom setting. These children need to move, touch and experience concepts in order to learn best. For example, instead of reading about pond water and the animals in that ecosystem, a young kinetic/tactile learner would do best visiting the pond and touching the water. He might even get a water sample to learn more about the ecosystem. He could explore the ecosystem and as he hiked around the water, he could look for ducks, geese, and other wildlife.
Since children who are kinetic/learners like to move, they may distract the other children in the classroom because they may move constantly in their seats.
Most classroom teachers try to create lessons which will encompass a variety of learning styles; some teachers may not be so good at this. A small number of teachers may view children who have a kinetic/tactile learning style as discipline problems, which can create conflict. If that happens, it’s important to advocate for your child to find a compromise that will work for both your child and the teacher.
Each child is unique. By helping your child to figure out his unique learning style, you can empower him to do the best he can do in school and in life.