Learning Styles Demystified

9 01 2011

In the academic world, you hear a lot about learning styles. But how do they really work? And how do they play into your child’s education?

What are Learning Styles?
Coined in the 1970s, the concept of learning styles has been described by a number of notable educators. Perhaps the most well-known model used to explain this idea is the VAK model, which describes 3 distinct learning styles:

1. Visual
2. Auditory
3. Kinesthetic

Visual learners have difficulty digesting a concept unless it is presented in some form of pictorial arrangement (i.e. a picture, diagram, or chart). This is not merely a preference, but for many students, a legitimate need. Without adequate visual representation, visual learners struggle to concretely grasp the concept.

Auditory Learners take in the world of learning through their ears. What is spoken in the classroom sticks in their minds and can typically be easily recalled. This type of student will often study out loud, repeating concepts to themselves in a whisper or a sing-song voice.

Kinesthetic Learners desperately need to move, to touch, and to experience learning. They need to walk as they study multiplication or to spell out vocabulary words with letter manipulatives. Touching and moving is not an excuse for this student, it is his means of experiencing what he is trying to learn.

Sometimes, an R is added to the model (VARK) to indicate a distinction for students who learn best by Reading/Writing. This type of learner will likely have the easiest time in a traditional classroom, as he absorbs information through the books that he reads and the notes that he takes.

What Kind of a Learner Am I?
If you were to explain a concept to someone, how would you do it? Would you draw a picture? Read them a portion of a book? Act out a scenario? One of the easiest ways to tell what kind of a learner you are is to evaluate how you best communicate information. Typically, the way that you explain something will indicate how you best learn.

What Do Learning Styles Have to do with Tutoring?
While every responsible teacher does their utmost to meet the needs of their students, the reality is that given the constraints of the classroom, it can be difficult to teach to all of the learning styles at any given time. A professional tutor knows how to evaluate a student’s learning style and provide instruction that speaks to the way in which the student learns best – consistently. This is what ReLyt Tutoring seeks to do. By providing personalized instruction, we are able to meet the needs of each student to spur them on to educational success and a love for learning!

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