Podcast Episode 30:
Optimizing Your Child’s Education Through Getting to Know Your Kid: Learning Preferences

What are your child’s learning preferences?


All of my students have had extensive assessments that tell me whether they learn better with auditory or visual input.  Some have more details than others and get even more specific about how they supposedly learn best.  And yet, it rarely gives me what I most need to know.


For example, Caroline’s report told me that she was much better with visual.  Auditory was hard for her.  This is good to know and valuable.  I know to be sure that she always has visual paired with auditory.  However, it’s not how Caroline really learns best.


I quickly discovered that she learns so much when we play games together, have conversations (even though it’s “auditory”), and watch videos.  Field trips were especially powerful for her.


After one field trip with her class, she reported back to me so much information that she learned, it took over an hour for her to tell it all to me. (I hurriedly jotted down what she was saying so that she could use it for the inevitable writing assignment that typically follows field trips.)


Much like what we talked about previously in terms of all the different ways you might spark interest in a new topic, there are many different ways your child may learn the information provided to them.


Now, unlike many others, I’m not going to try to convince you to discover your child’s “learning style”.  Usually, by this they mean is your child a kinesthetic, tactile, auditory, or visual learner.  


The truth is: your child, like everyone, is a multimodal learner.  They need all of these modalities to learn the best.  However, they will get more out of different styles of teaching.  They might get more out of what they see than what they hear, for example.  Knowing this is helpful, but it’s not going to make or break your child’s learning.


Further, what your child experiences will always teach more than what they simply hear, see, or read.


What I really want you to discover though, is what types of experiences your child will best learn from. 


Do they prefer to learn from:

  • Books

  • Videos

  • Dialogue

  • Field trips

  • experiments/ hands on discovery

  • Answering a question


Pay attention to how your child responds to each of these. Sometimes what sparks the interest is different from what they learn the most from.


I would love to hear what you discover about your child’s learning!  Just hit reply and let me know!


Watch, Read, or Listen!

And then let me know- What were your takeaways?

Audio version: www.DecodingLearningDifferences.com


Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is part of our series, Optimizing your child's learning through getting to know your kid. In this episode, we are digging in to learning preferences, which is not the same thing as learning styles. And we'll also be talking about the importance of not worrying too much about your child's learning style. So when I'm talking about learning style,

I'm talking about that auditory visual tactile, kind of, if you remember back to episode three and I would encourage you to really listen to it or listen to it again, or listen to it for the first time, if you haven't listened to it, we talked about how children learn. There was a handout that went with it and we showed this pyramid.

And in that episode, I talked about the learning pyramid and how at the very top is the passive ways that we give information to our children, which is typically where that auditory, kinesthetic, tactile visual all falls at the bottom, that participatory, which you get some of that tactile and kinesthetic there too. That participatory is where kids really are learning. Most of the learning is happening there.

So does it matter if your child is auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile, kind of, if your child has an auditory processing disorder, then I definitely think it is beneficial to know that because then when your child doesn't listen to you, when you tell them to go clean their room, you know, that they probably need a visual or another method of helping them know what it is you're actually asking of them.

They're just not processing what you're telling them very well at all, giving them an audio book is not very beneficial. They're not going to understand it particularly well. So knowing that about your child is very helpful. It is very beneficial. I definitely think there's huge benefits to knowing how your child learns best. Even knowing that they don't have a processing disorder,

but they're not so great with the auditory. They do better with the visual is very beneficial to know. Maybe you do let them listen to an audio book, and then you reinforce it with pictures about that book or having them draw pictures about what they're hearing so that they're turning their own auditory into visual and participating in their own learning, which is also activating a lot of other things.

So that the focus here is how is your child going to learn? How do they learn best? Yes, all of this is important, but there's other things to consider as well. And a lot of what I want us to consider is the experiences that our children have because that participatory piece of learning, it's all about experiences, experiencing your learning, not just seeing something or hearing something,

you know, absorbing information that is being given to you, which is, can be easy and even relaxing at times, right? Like we just sit and watch TV to relax. And sometimes we learn things, but we don't always retain what we learned very well. Like how many times you've been trying to tell someone something that you saw on TV. That was so interesting.

And you can't remember a lot of the details, but when you're trying to tell someone about it, you're also helping yourself to remember whatever it is that you have remembered up to that point. And the faster you turn around and tell someone about it, the more you're going to remember and be able to tell them, and then go back and rewatch it and then,

you know, take notes right now. You're getting a little more participatory. You've got, you're planning out what you're going to tell someone else about this thing that you watched, or this podcast, you listen to, the more you're participating, the more you're going to learn and retain. So right now, whether you are watching this or listening to this,

think through what have I learned so far about how children learn, what am I going to do with that information? Say it out loud. So our children learn better when they are experiencing one of the, so some I experienced ideas and this also can be used to help gain their interest. So there's a lot of overlap between gaining a child's interest in learning and their learning preferences,

field trips absolutely can gain a child's interest and it can be how their child, that your child learns best. Your child might learn the most. When you go on field trips with them, when you take them somewhere and maybe the more time they're outside, the more they're learning, because they're just also super interested in being outside. You see how that all kind of plays together.

Museums. They might learn a ton when they go to a museum or just going to the beach and experiencing that. But you can work on reading, writing math while sitting at the beach. So think through how can I incorporate different experiences with what I want my child to learn. A huge piece experiences is just conversations. Like I said, if you want to tell someone about something you watched that conversation you're having about it is really powerful.

When I watch something with my friend or with my husband and we have a conversation about it and a dialogue. Oh, but did you hear him say this? Because we have both, might've interpreted a little differently. We're having conversation. We're coming to a deeper understanding and we're actually retaining what we learned from what we watched. Way more than if we just watched it.

And I do also suggest different books and movies and plays. But within all of that, I, I encourage the conversation or even having your kid present something. Now I, I don't like anything where you're like, you have to present this, but anything where like, Hey, do you want to like, do a presentation on it for us? And you can like stand up and give a microphone or do you want to make a video about it?

So some of that where you're encouraging them to tell you what they learned from the movie they watch, or maybe you don't allow screen time. And there was this movie they really want to watch. Okay. You can watch that movie if afterward. Yeah. You give me a little presentation on it and you summarize the whole movie. So I want you to take some notes while you're watching it so that you can do a little presentation on it afterward,

right? Maybe you make a deal like that. Your, your family, your choices, but just some suggestions, new materials can really gain some interest and spark some interest in what they're learning and anything else that's like novel, new experiences, new places, new things, absolutely help kids to learn more. Most of the time it helps to engage them.

It helps to make things interesting. It helps them to remember because it's never happened before. If you go to the beach every single day, they're not gonna be able to differentiate one day from another in their memory very well. But if they've only ever been to the beach once they can probably tell you just about everything about it,

because it was that memorable because it was that different, that unique in that novel. So obviously you can't create a novel experience for your child every single day, but any piece that you can add a novelty to whatever it is that you are teaching them or wanting them to learn, that can definitely, those can go together very well. So if you are wanting them to learn about ancient Rome and you borrow a,

or you get a sheet out of the closet and you dress up in a Toga before they wake up, they come out that morning and you are wearing a Toga or, you know, a sheet wrapped kind of like a Toga. That's pretty novel. They're going to be like, what just happened? What is going on today? And you're like, I am so glad you asked. We're learning about Rome! 

Isn't that amazing? Do you want to wear a Toga? And they're like, yes, I want to wear a Toga and learn about rome. Like that's so cool or no, you're weird. Right? It depends on the age of your kid. You guys are thinking about the, the teenagers kind of getting like, no, you're weird, but they're also going to remember that. It's novel.

That's never happened before. That's going to be weird. That's going to be memorable. So anything that you can do like that, right? Anything that can spark that interest and make them experience something that they haven't experienced before. Definitely can help any other experiences that you have with your child. The more hands-on, I'm all about the manipulatives, bringing out the,

you know, all the different manipulatives, counting different objects, any of that, hands-on learning. It's really good learning. So I definitely encourage as much of that as possible. And the more we talk about what we're learning, the more we're able to actually learn and retain what we are learning. So the more your child is teaching you about what you're learning,

the more you're gonna learn it. In fact, I've so often heard parents that are homeschooling say, I learned way more now than I ever did in public school. I barely learned anything there. Okay. I get that. There's a variety of issues happening here, but one of the reasons that's happening is because you're now teaching. And when you're teaching,

you're going to learn a lot more than when you're just a student. So if you're learning a lot, make sure your child is also learning a lot. And that they're not just in the student role, sitting back listening. If you're wondering why they're not understanding something, have them teach it to you or their younger sibling or the dog or the neighbor or whatever,

have them teach what they're struggling with or the step right before it that maybe they really didn't master or the step way before it, that they really didn't master have them reteach that to you or to the neighbor or the younger brother or dog, whatever teaching someone else allows them really learn it in a way, in a very deep way. So I really highly encourage you to allow your child to be the teacher.

Okay. I want to hear from you as always, let me know. What did you take away from this? What are, what thoughts are you having about it? What will your next experience with your child be? How are they going to be learning? What experiences have you had recently that you can share with me? I would love to hear about all of it.

Kimberlynn at Decoding Learning Differences dot com also feel free to find me on Facebook. I'm Kimberlynn Lavelle. I think I'm the only one there. There's also Decoding Learning Differences on Facebook. So you can find us either way. And I look forward to hearing from you.



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Decoding Learning Differences