How does your child learn best? What makes learning fun? One thing to consider is what type of learner your child is.
Recently I have been helping my son with his numbers. He’s in Year 1 so maths is a relatively new thing to him and it has been a fun experience breaking down what we as adults take for granted into little ideas that he can understand and build on.
We have done a lot of reading, writing and mental arithmetic at home but I felt something was missing and we weren’t helping him as much as we could. His teacher said his understanding was perhaps a little abstract and we should think about making it more tangible. A little bit of research and one set of Numicons later he is flying through his numbers.
Why the change? Learning something for the first time can be really fun and one of the most important tasks for a teacher is to quickly spot the ways their students respond best. There are various models for this and one of the ones I find most useful is the VARK model. This stands for:
Reading (and writing)
We had been supporting my son’s learning with reading, writing and aural methods. The Numicons are a set of different shaped and numbered tiles that enable a child to experience a multi sensory approach to numbers. Adding visual and kinesthetic learning has really helped make the learning tangible and boosted his confidence with numbers. It’s fun too – even his younger brother wants to join in.
Learning music is no different. Some children respond really well to dots on the page (visual), some sing happily by ear (aural) and some feel rhythm best through movement (kinesthetic). There is no right or wrong here. The most important thing is to understand and work with how the young learner responds best – whether it be one of these modes or a mixture of them.
Here are some of the key points around each learning style and some tips for any teachers reading too.
A visual learner learns best through seeing – posters, graphics and diagrams are all really useful.
Teacher tip: Express what you would like to teach with diagrams and clear written notes
A visual learner learns best by listening – recordings, singing, discussing ideas, mnemonics, using lyrics as instructions are all great ways to engage with the aural learner.
Teacher tip: Make a recording of your student’s playing and ask them to listen. Ask them what they think of their music
Reading and writing learner
The learners learn best by reading and writing – written exercises, lists, making notes, reading step by step instructions all work very well.
Teacher Tip: Write out a checklist of steps to achieve goals
Kinesthetic learners learn best using movement and touch – hands on activities, copying demonstrations, learning from the experience of doing are good ways to approach this.
Teacher Tip: Ask students to move in time to a pulse. Teach notes values by walking, jogging or running on the spot in time with the given pulse
If you have any great ideas or experiences in this area why not comment below. It is great to hear about all the different ways we can help children flourish and enjoy what they are learning.