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Preferred Learning Style
Photo: Issac Joo
How you learn affects not only how you teach or parent, but how your students or children learn.

When his teacher insists that young Brenden quit swinging his legs as he and his peers recite a well-loved poem, Brenden gradually stops paying attention. Following the introduction of a puzzle that involves deciphering a coded message, Eric leans forward in anticipation while Sarah slumps down and stares out the window. Later as volunteers are requested for a class skit, Sarah is quick to volunteer and it is Eric who rolls his eyes in disgust.

Why the loss of interest and the changes in attitude? Is it just a phase, peer pressure, a lack of discipline? Though any of these could have some influence, it is more likely related to something even more basic -- preferred learning style.

Whether aware of it or not, each person uses a particular style or process for making sense of new information and new situations. Often referred to as their  learning style, these strengths affect how the individual solves problems and how they reach their goals, how they relate to other people and even what career they choose.

Sharing Leaning Styles

The style your child's instructor prefers is the one she/he will feel most comfortable using so it is only natural that this will be the style that he/she will most likely teach in and teach to. Children who share their teacher's preference for learning style will learn excellently from them and their teaching style will likely get rave reviews. On the other hand, students who prefer a different style from the teacher's own, may become frustrated or bored under their training resulting at times in a less than positive outcome for the teacher and/or the student.

When a teacher or parent becomes familiar with the different learning styles, it helps them observe their students/children and determine what style each child prefers. As they become aware that a child's style differs from their own teaching style, they can take positive steps to provide a style of instruction that builds on the child’s strengths without sacrificing the desired learning outcomes. This simple strategy of observing student strength and adjusting teaching style to coincide can often mean the difference between success and failure in difficult teaching and parenting situations.

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By C. Rene Ammundsen. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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