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Three Basic Learning Styles of Children

Understanding the three basic learning styles of children is important anytime we teach.  We may or may not be teaching in a school, but these will help us work better with children in any capacity.  It is important that as we prepare to teach we provide for each of these learning styles.

Visual Learners

Visual learning is just what you would think; these children learn best through what they see with their eyes.  Because of this, they are better able to retain what they read from a book rather than instructions they may be told. 

Most people have a mixture of learning styles, but visual learning is thought to be the most common or dominant learning style.

You are probably a visual learner if you -

1) Follow directions to a new place by asking for landmarks you will see and do better if the directions are written down or drawn as a map.

2)  Remember where you saw a fact written in a book.

3)  Recall a phone number or how to spell a word by visualizing it in your mind how you saw it written.

Teaching to visual learning styles of children:

1)  Write important words or main facts on a chalkboard or dry erase board for them to see. 

2) Use pictures when telling stories out loud.

3)  Draw pictures of main ideas or allow them to draw.  Even allowing them to doodle while listening can help their visual memory.

Auditory Learners

Children with an auditory learning style retain more from listening; they need spoken instruction.  Telling stories or reading out loud works best when teaching these students. 

You may think an auditory learner is not paying attention when listening to yo. Their listening skills are so well developed that even though they usually seem distracted when listening, they remarkably hear and retain the information.

You may be an auditory learner if you -

1) Are able to remember directions to a new place by actually "rehearing" their voice and instructions in your head.  Seeing a map or reading directions just confuses you.

2) Can remember details of a story or instructions that were orally given.

3) Recall a number or how to spell a word by saying it outloud.

Teaching to auditory learning styles of children:

1)  Read any instructions out loud for them to hear.

2)  Let them know they may whisper to themselves while reading themselves or move their lips to repeat what they are hearing when you read.

3)  Stop at places in the lesson and have them repeat facts you want them to remember.

Kinaesthetic or Tactile Learners

A child with this learning style learns best with hand-on projects, things they can actually touch or handle.  Have them act out stories or relate ideas to objects they can touch.

Because these children learn best by doing, it is difficult for them to sit still.  Sometimes they may be perceived as a discipline problem when really they are just trying to learn.

You are probably a kinaesthetic learner if you -

1) Remember directions to a new place by actually tracing your finger along a real map or an imaginary map as you listen.

2) Would remember a story better if it was actually a play and you could see what the characters were doing.

3)  Can remember numbers or how to spell a word by tracing them out as you say them.

Teaching to kinaesthetic learning styles of children:

  • Use objects as often as you can when teaching a lesson.  Allowing them to hold and touch something as they learn will help them reconnect it later.
  • When telling a story, allow them to act out the different characters or walk around and do movements as the character does in the story.  Hand motions are wonderful!
  •   When giving instructions, have them repeat them back to you.

Find out the learning styles of children in your group or even yourself!

Learning Styles in a Bible Lesson

So how would all this look as we are teaching a Bible lesson for children's ministry, Sunday school, or our own children?

If we were teaching the story of the Tower of Babel, we might incorporate the following for each of the learning styles of children:

For visual learners - Have several of the main idea words written on strips of paper and put up on a board as you tell the story.  You may also have pictures to add for them to see.

For auditory learners -  Tell the story out loud and even have students repeat certain words or phrases.

For kinaesthetic learners - Bring legos, blocks or boxes and have students build a tower as they tell the story back to you.

It may take a little extra time to incorporate something for each type of learner, but it is worth it to help the Truth of Scriptures stick in their hearts & minds!  :)

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