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Learning Styles & Advice for Different Learners

An overview

Learning styles for each child are very different. Through this blog we will go through learning styles and how think are linked to a child’s intelligence.

When I first learned about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, I felt a great sense of relief. Intelligence is often limited in its definition. People are in awe of those who excel at math or sciences and measure intelligence through test scores. Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, proposed a theory wherein he detailed the different kinds of intelligence: 

  1. Visual-spatial intelligence – read and write for fun, great at puzzles, interpret pictures well, lean towards the arts, good at pattern recognition.

  2. Linguistic-verbal intelligence – remember both written and spoken information, enjoy reading and writing, great at debate, can explain things very well, excel at languages and oral recitations.

  3. Mathematical-logical intelligence – superb problem-solving skills, think about abstract ideas, often conduct scientific experiments and are able to solve complex technological problems.

  4. Kinesthetic intelligence – are skilled at dancing and/or sports, very creative and often create art forms with their hands, have good hand-eye coordination.

  5. Musical intelligence – love singing or playing musical instruments, are able to recognize musical notes easily, superb memory for melodies, inherent knowledge about rhythm.

  6. Interpersonal intelligence – communicate well verbally and non-verbally, view situations from different perspectives, foster positive relationships with others, good at conflict-resolution.

  7. Intrapersonal intelligence – analyze their strengths and weaknesses well, enjoy the analysis of theories and ideation, strong self-awareness, understand their own feelings.

  8. Naturalistic intelligence – fascinated by botany, biology or zoology, catalogue information with ease, enjoy outdoor activities, care deeply about nature and the environment.

Learning styles vs. the theory of multiple intelligences

In fact, in 1981, Gardner was presented with the esteemed MacArthur Prize fellowship. In his book The App Generation, Gardner clarifies that the concept of learning styles is distinctly different from his theory of multiple intelligences.

Learning styles refers to an individual’s personality and learning preferences whereas the theory of multiple intelligences refers to diverse facets of intelligence and as Gardner writes ‘a mental computational power.’

Nonetheless, learning styles are easier to understand if one has first identified different forms of intelligence. 

Advice for each kind of learner:

  1. Auditory and musical learners – Record lessons so that they can refer back to them at leisure. Listening back to what they may have already covered in class will help restate the concept. Teaching one another ‘verbally’ helps them with better recollection. They should be seated away from noisy areas to minimise distractions.

  2. Visual and spatial learners – They should be seated at the front of the classroom in order to maintain eye-contact and stay focused. They benefit immensely from going over visuals/graphics once more at home. Using a highlighter to colour code their notes or creating mind maps are other effective strategies. Writing notes or doodle will help improve their memory.

  3. Verbal learners – Verbal learners are avid note-takers and do well practicing something verbally. (whether that’s repeating something out loud until memorised or practicing a speech) 

  4. Logical and mathematical learners – For people who gravitate towards statistics and taxonomy. Explain the reasoning behind concepts and give them extra opportunities to practice problem sets or logic exercises.

  5. Kinesthetics learners – Take strolls back and forth when trying to memorise a concept. Declutter desks and surfaces so that they have more space to move around. 

  6. Interpersonal learners – Collaborate with friends/family and have them take up your notes. Create notes which can be share with friends. 

  7. Intrapersonal learners – Conduct research and set the environment for independent study. Write out notes and reflect on the reasoning behind them.

Conclusion

Often learners will accommodate a range of learning styles and sometimes the best tactic is to integrate mixed learning styles!

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