Learning with Your Best Style

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Karen, I already breezed through your post on the three main Learning Styles and waded my way through your post on Multiple Intelligences. I think I’ve got it. Why are you writing about this topic again? Good question. It’s not to annoy you or waste your time, I promise! Rather, it is because there is a whole lot more information out there and I want to empower you as an educated parent to have a fistful of options when working with your children. Whether it’s a conversation about planning a trip, earning money, learning to ride a bike, scheduling their time, or memorizing the multiplication tables, knowing the best way to reach your child makes all the difference.

Drs. Kenneth and Rita Dunn who conducted extensive research on students and developed the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles Model, define learning styles as “the way in which each person begins to concentrate on, process, internalize and remember new and difficult academic content.” The visual, auditory, and kinesthetic styles we are so familiar with are only ONE of the FIVE elements they identified!! There’s still FOUR left to consider!

Here’s how the Dunn’s break it down:

  • Environmental (where we learn best) sound, light, temperature, seating design;
  • Sociological (with whom we concentrate best) alone, pairs, peers, teams;
  • Emotional (what motivates us/ influences our feelings on learning) motivation, persistence, structure;
  • Physiological (when and how we physically engage in learning) time of day, food, auditory, visual words or pictures, verbal, tactile, kinesthetic;
  • Psychological (how we process/ respond to information) analytical, global, impulsive, reflective.

If you were keeping track, that includes at least 22 different variables worthy of consideration. Parents and teachers can’t necessarily observe each of them so a “testing” instrument that is comprehensive was needed. Enter Dunn and Dunn. They created a measurement tool that can be used which encompasses all these variables and elements that go into the complex matter of learning. They do offer this assessment online. SO… IF you want to take your understanding of your learning style or your child’s to the next level and you have 30 minutes and $5 to spare, it’s probably well worth it. If you’re looking for credibility, their spinoff ILSN, International Learning Styles Network, is grounded in this research and has 23 locations in 11 countries worldwide that provide training on the use and implementation of this learning styles model. However; just being aware of this information gives you new ways to view or change up your child’s learning experiences which may lead to better results.

Here’s what really matters. When students have information presented to them which accommodates their preferred learning style, and academic success follows, it’s clear that their learning style preference is indeed their strength and should be capitalized upon. So there you go, mom! Another door you can open for your child so they can walk through life with style!

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