| Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Recently, my friend and I had a conversation about each of our kids’ cognitive development. This is exactly the type of conversation that used to supremely annoy me before I had a kid. Funny how things change.
My friend is contemplating having her daughter skip first grade. Apparently her reading and math skills are testing at a third-grade level. My friend is understandably distraught over the decision. While she doesn’t want to stunt her child’s innate accelerated development, she also doesn’t want her to lose a year of her childhood.
I’m distraught about my son Alex for other reasons. The kid is refusing to learn the alphabet. He has an incredible memory so it should come easy for him. But when I ask him why he can’t remember his letters he states matter-of-factly, “Because I don’t care about letters.”
But, ask him where and how he acquired any one of the hundreds of toys in his playroom and you’ll get the whole backstory, including any dialogue that may have taken place at the time of purchase or gifting.
As my friend and I discussed our kid dilemmas, it got me thinking about the differences between our kids’ personalities and preferences. In the days following, I thought about the games and activities that Alex excels at and those that frustrate him. This led to some research on different learning styles.
And then the light bulb went on.
We had been going about this alphabet thing all wrong. We were doing workbooks and flashcards, but nothing was sticking. Turns out, Alex is most likely an auditory learner. Meaning, he learns best through listening.
Ok, good to know. Problem is, the kid is also a selective listener because he’s a little punk.
Dave and I realized what kind of learners we are in this discovery process as well. In general, visual learners excel by seeing something done, auditory learners are best directed by verbal communication and kinesthetic learners are most likely to grasp a concept through hands-on interaction. Of course, everyone has a little of all three, but one style typically dominates.
I’m a visual learner – hence the workbooks and flash cards for Alex. Dave is an auditory learner. He used the workbooks and flashcards because I brought them home, but was into them as much as Alex was. Turning the lessons into songs on the guitar would have been right up both of their alleys and will certainly be a tactic going forward. And I’ll have to put down the pencil and paper and sing along for Alex’s sake.
Here are a few resources about learning styles if you are curious about yours or your child’s, or if you’re a visual learner like me who likes taking tests and seeing the results.
- University of South Dakota: Understanding & Identifying Auditory, Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Styles
- University of Illinois Extension: Learning Styles Explained